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v. 2 


iTm mT Y ° F N ' C - AT CHAp EL HILL 


This book is due at the LOUIS R. WILSON LIBRARY on the 
last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it may be 
renewed by bringing it to the library. 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
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Across Thibet. 

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Across Thibet. 





With Illustrations from Photographs taken by Prince Henry of 
Orleans, and Map of Route. 


Vol. II. 



[all bights reserved.] 

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NORTH CAfcfe,? 




" A Man is Coming" — Description of the First Thibetan Encountered — Thibetan Horse- 
men — Driving a Bargain — A Savage's First Sight of a Watch — Uncomplimentary 
Comments — On the High Road to Lhassa— -Getting Information under Difficulties — 
English and Russians in Bad Odour — Lake Burben-cho — The Dungan shows his 
Seals — Silos — A Thibetan Interior — A Native Woman — Imatch Done up — Prayers 
Engraved on Stones — Taking a Prisoner — Death of Imatch — In Sight of the 
Ningling Tangla and the Namtso ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 — 33 



At Namtso — Encamping near Ningling Tangla Pass — An Embassage — The Thibetans 
Undecided — The Caravan in Battle Array — A Mandarin — A Mongolian Interpreter 
— Arrival of the Amban from Lhassa— Giving him Audience — His Suite and their 
Costumes— A Long Interview — The Thibetans' New Year's Day — In the Amban's 
Tent — Gibeonites — Another Mongolian Interpreter — The Apathy of Thibetans — 
A Storm — Arrival of the Ta-Lama and the Ta- Amban — Plain Speaking — Refusal 
to Return — The Ta-Lama and the Ta- Amban described — Abdullah and the Dungan 
at their Devotions — Colloquy between Rachmed and Timour — Thibetans at 
Work— Their General Characteristics — Carnivorous Horses — The Samda Kansain 
Mountains— The Samda Tchou River— A Blade of Grass — How they do Business 
at Lhassa 34—70 



Breakfasting with the Ta- Amban and Ta-Lama— Diplomatic Indignation — Two Barbarian 
Petty Chiefs — An Effectual Call to Order — A Sunset Scene — Feasting on a Sheep's 
Head — A " Dainty Dish " — At Soubrou — Resting at Di-Ti — Water- Carrier s — An 
Entente Cordiale — Characteristics and Habits of the Natives of the Di-Ti Country — 
A Specimen of Primeval Man — Nigan : Another Stoppage — The Talai- Lama's 
Presents : Sacred Objects — Return Presents — A Lama Guide — The Ta-Amban's 
Advice — A Pet Ram — Timour, Parpa, and Iça Go Back ... ... ... 71 — 91 



At Gatine — The River Ourtchou — A Hermit Lama — "Steeped in Luxury" — At 
Djaucounnene — Meeting a Caravan — Resemblance between Thibetans and other 
Peoples — Thumb Language — A Droll Native — The Thibetans not Fanatics — On 
the Banks of the Omtchou — At Tandi — The Thibetan Sling — A Superb Mountain 
Scene — A Sight of Ploughed Land — First View of the Lama-house of So — The 
"Delicious Odour" of Wood — A Concierge in Thibet— Native Money — A Commission 
of 150 per Cent. — Ploughing at So — Crossing the Sotchou — A Bearded Thibetan — ■ 
Why Dishonest Chiefs are Popular ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 92 — 119 





A Thibetan Vitellius — Chang — Commercial Chinamen — Native "Women — Polyandry and 
Polygamy — Beggars — Contentment — The Chief of the District at Home — A Theo- 
logical Question — Departure from Séi'ésumdo— Mendicant Lamas and their Music — 
News from Lhassa — The Honeymoon in Thibet — Novel Method of Crossing a Stream 
— Tumblers — A Chief in his Cups — A Scene of Home Life— Force Majeure — Fickle- 
ness of the Natives : the Probable Cause — At Karimeta — Primitive Husbandry — A 
Lamaess— Praying Windmills— Tchoungo — The Dàla and Djala Passes — A Splendid 
Prospect — A Pagoda — Houmda — Lagoun : a Manufacturing Town ... ... 120 — 151 



Lamé — Lamda — Bad Pood — Religious Malthusianism — Crossing the Satchou — Capture of 
a New-bom Monkey — Koushoune — Ouoshishoune — A Fat Lama — Dzérine — Hassar 
— Thibetans and Chinese : a Contrast — Indefinite Dates — Rough and Ready Justice 
— Dotou — A Dignified Chinese Official — A Series of Prayer Mills — Rachmed in 
Action — The Chinese Army — Parting with the Lama Guide — Tsonké — A Secret 
Christian — The Destruction of the Batang Mission — Burial-place of a French Mis- 
sionary — Reception by the Mandarin of Changka — Four Swords for 150 Men... 152 — 181 



Religious Prophylactics — " Red " and " Yellow " Lamaism — The Lamas as Capitalists — ■ 
From Changka to Koushou — The Tea Trade between China and Thibet — Leindiinne 
— Anarchy — Chinese Inns — The Blue River (Kin-sha-Kiang) — Frenchmen in Thibet 
— Chinese Justice — An Orgie — Chinese Soldiers : the Courage of Numbers — At 
Batang — A Series of Questions — Tatsien-Lou — The French Missionaries There — A 
Difficulty with the Mandarin — Apology — Chinese Administration — Sending Home 
the Photographs — The Red River — On French Soil — Hanoï — The Future of Tonquin 
—Conclusion 182—221 


Talking Over the First Thibetans... 

Tent at Burben-cho 

Thibetans at Burben-cho 

Thibetan Horsemen 

A Petty Chief ... 

The Namtso 


Religious Insignia 

The Petty Amban 

Tent of the Envoys from Lhassa ... 

Thibetans Loading a Yak 

The Caravan in Motion 

The Cooking Tent 

Chief of the Djashas ... 

Thibetan Savages round a Fire 

The Ta-Lama, the Ta-Amban, and other Chiefs 

A Thibetan Saluting ... 

The Lama Guide ... 

An Attendant of the Amban... 

Thibetan Horsemen 

Monument near the Lama-house of So 

Thibetan of the Redskin Tvpe 

Yak Driver with Prayer-mill 

A Loaded Yak 

The Lama-house at So ... 

A House at So 

Women at Bata-Soumdo 

"Woman and Child of Sérésumdo 

House at Sérésumdo 

Types of Natives at Sérésumdo 

Mendicant Lamas 

Scene near Sérésumdo... 

The "Obo" at Tchoungo 

Prayers Carved on a Stone 



Thibetan of Tbéchotjbtg. 

A Thibetan Village 

Bridge at Sougomba 

Crossing the Satchou . 

Group of Natives 

Scene in Inhabited Thibet 

.Ruins in the Maktchou Valley 

Lama-house at Dotou ... 

Prayeii-mill at Dotou ... 

A Dancer ... 

Dancers at Changka 

A Buddhist Chapel 

The Kin-sha-Kiang (Great Blue River) 

Women at Batang 

Lamas at Batang 

General View of Litang 

Litang : View from the Roofs 

Chinese Fort at Litang 

Entrance to the Tatsien-Lou Valley 

French Missionaries 

Fishing with Cormorants 


The Bed River ... 


Rachmed and a Thibetan Innkeeper 



Across Thibet. 



A Man is Coming" — Description of the First Thibetan Encountered — Thibetan Horsemen — 
Driving a Bargain — A Savage's First Sight of a Watch — Uncomplimentary Comments — 
On the High Road to Lhassa — Getting Information under Difficulties — English and 
Russians in Bad Odour — Lake Burben-cho — The Dungan shows his Seals — Silos — A 
Thibetan Interior — A Native Woman — Imatch Done Up — Prayers Engraved on Stones — 
Taking a Prisoner — Death of Imatch — In Sight of the Ningling Tangla and the Namtso. 

January 30. — Although we get a little lower down 
each day, the cold is still intense, the minimum of to-day 
31° below zero at an altitude of 14,200 feet. 
;ill we feel much lighter and walk much more freely, 
while as we have no longer to concern our- 
selves in looking for the route, we are able to 
examine the ridges of the hills more carefully, 
and see if there is any sign of movement or 
any spots resembling tents. 

January 31. — While the beasts are being 

loaded and w T e are sipping our tea in 

the tent, we hear shouts, and Abdullah 

comes rushing in, beaming with joy, 

and says, " You can get out your 

purse and pay the winner : a man is 

coming." We enjoin Abdullah to 

treat the stranger well, give him 

some tea, take him up to the fire, 

try to soften him down and coax what he can out of 

On the arrival of the Thibetan, he is greeted in Mongolian, 





and replies in the same language, all the men crowding round 
him and speaking at once. Eaclnned comes and tells us that lie is 
ugly beyond description, and that the very bears are better look- 
ing. When we think that the ice has been broken, we come out, 
Prince Henry with his photographic apparatus in his hand, and 
our presence produces a certain effect upon our guest, as he rises 
when he sees us, calls us " bembo," that is to say, " chief," and, in 
order to salute us, lifts up his thumbs and protrudes an enormous 
tongue, while he bows profoundly. He is begged to sit down 
agrain, and we examine him while he is engaged in conversation 
with Abdullah, if conversation there can be when the two speakers 
have in common ten words of Mongolian and four of Thibetan. 

He is a very little man, with a clean-shaven face covered with 
a layer of grease and smoke, and furrowed by a great number of 
deep wrinkles. His eyes, sunken in the orbits, are little more 
than dark spots beneath the swollen eyelids, the brown pupils are 
scarcely distinguishable from the discoloured cornea. The face 
looks narrower than it really is, owing to the long locks of hair 
which fall down upon the hollow cheeks ; the nose is large and 
the mouth toothless, with thick lips, and the square chin has no 
sign of hair. The man is weakly, and we can see that his hand 
is small and dirty, as he manipulates his snuff-box, cut out of 
a piece of horn, shaking out some powdered red tobacco which 
he sniffs up into his nose. 

His dress is in keeping with his person, his head-gear con- 
sisting of a strip of skin which is wound round the forehead and 
fastened at the back, leaving the top of the head bare. From the 
crown hangs down a tress of hair, coming as far as the loins and 
passing through two or three rings made of bones of some beast. 
The owner of this tress must rub fat over it occasionally, for 
that portion of his attire against which it rubs is more greasy 
and shiny than the rest. The sheep-skin pelisse which covers the 
bare body of our visitor is unspeakably dirty. It would be 


difficult to say how long lie lias worn this pelisse, which is fitted 
to his figure aud, in order to facilitate his walking, looped up by 
meaus of a cord, so that, about the level of the waist, it forms an 
enormous fold, which serves as a pocket, from which he extracts 
his snuff-box, and into which he puts the bread and piece of meat 
we give him. He also takes out from this pocket a small spinning- 
wheel, the handle of which is made of polished or on go horn and 
a cross of some wood which we take to be holly. His skinny 
legs are encased in a pair of woollen stockings, split open at the 
calf and kept in their place by garters made of hemp, and, like 
the espadrillos of the Spanish mountains, furnished with thick soles. 

While asking us as to our journey, the Thibetan takes fre- 
quent pinches of snuff or quietly spins the yak wool which he has 
with him. By means of signs, we explain to him that most of 
our horses and camels are dead, and that the five or six sheep left 
have only been allowed to live because there is nothing to eat 
on them ; and we ask him to sell us butter, horses, and sheep. In 
response to this, he invites us to follow him to his tent, which is 
beyond the rock that we can see to the westward. 

We thank him for his kindness, but beg to be excused, 
because we want to go to the south-east. Then, with the falsity 
and impudence of the savage, he endeavours to dissuade us from 
this by saying that Lhassa is not in that direction, but to the west, 
asking us, incidentally, and clasping his hands in a reverential 
manner, if we are going to offer prayers to the Talai Lama. We 
tell him that we are, and then he again urges us to come and stay 
a little while in his encampment, where we shall find all kinds of 
provision and grass for our beasts. 

While we are discussing this, we see several flocks descending 
the slopes of the hills, escorted by men on horseback, who come 
toward us. The old man gets up as if to go, but we give 
him another cup of tea, and show him some " iambas " (bars of 
silver), which we are ready to exchange for sheep. He calls 


out to a shepherd, who comes trotting up, and explains what we 
propose, whereupon the latter drives his flock towards us. This 
second shepherd does not seem to us to he as old as the first, 
rather taller, and quite as thin. We are struck by the brusque- 
ness of his movements, his irregular gait, his short, quick steps, 
and a peculiar w T ay of throwing out the knee, giving him the 
appearance of a being with a human body and the legs of a goat. 
In fact, one thinks of the monsters of classic mythology as one 
looks at his long head, his short, snub nose, salient cheek-bones, 
large mouth from which protrude two teeth that keep the thick 
lips constantly apart, and enormously developed lower jaw. 

He leans upon a long, sharp-pointed lance, which he grasps in 
a hand black with dirt, and having fingers of nearly equal size ; 
round the waist he carries a sword, the sheath of which is made 
of wood plated with iron, while the blade is somewhat notched. 
In order that it may not interfere with his movements on the 
march, he carries this sword horizontally, and he also has slung 
over the back a short gun, of small calibre, with a forked rest 
made of orongo horn. The stock is short and square, as is usual 
with Oriental firearms, and as the gun is fired by means of a fuse, 
the lance seems the more formidable of the two weapons. Pend- 
ing the arrival of the flock of sheep, the two Thibetans have a 
talk, and feel the weight of our bags and chests, and they would 
carry their indiscretions still farther if we did not, in jest, flourish 
a revolver at them. This weapon attracts their attention, and 
they examine its six chambers with manifest surprise, being much 
astonished at the size of the bullets. When they see that all our 
men carry a leather case round their waist, they imagine that each 
of them has his revolver. 

The man with the lance asks us if we are from Bomba and 
Calacata (Bombay and Calcutta), and when we say No, we are 
people from the West, the Thibetans express their satisfaction, 
explaining that they are not friends with the people of Bomba 


and Calacata. They indicate this unfriendliness by joining their 
index-fingers nail to nail. 

In the meanwhile the flock of sheep has come up, in charge 
of two lads as dirty as their seniors, and in the distance is another 
person on horseback, whom we find, on looking through the 
glass, to be a young woman. She is very small, clad in a sheep- 
skin pelisse coming down to the heels, and bare-headed, her 
face being hidden in the tresses of her hair. She seems to us to 
have her cheeks blackened with some kind of unguent. 

A lad having failed to lasso one of the sheep which his 
master picks out from the flock, the latter takes the cord from 
him and, with surprising quickness, throws it round the horns 
of a ram. This animal has very fine, silky wool, and a small 
and well-shaped head, but we reject it, as the flesh would be 
hard and stringy. The Thibetans are amused at our knowing 
a good sheep from a bad one, and having, like all savages, 
first tried to deceive us, show us some fat young sheep, which 
they secure with the lasso. We pay them in silver bars weighed 
in Chinese scales, and they examine both the silver and the 
scales very carefully, and rub the silver with a stone, to see 
that it contains no lead. Then they break off little bits and 
put them in their mouths, trying to coax us into giving a few 
grains more. They are very greedy, and when we exchange a 
horse which is worn out with fatigue for three sheep, they bargain 
in a way that shows they are not easily " got over." 

We offer to pay them high prices for suitable animals, and they 
promise to bring us some the next day, showing us at the same 
time the ponies they are riding. These are such as are bred 
in the countries of the north, with long coats, and rather short, 
powerful heads, and when we observe their depth of chest, 
strong necks, and well-made legs, we do not wonder at their 
good going. Their masters ride them with a plain halter, never 
using a bit, their gestures and whip answering every purpose. 


These ponies, though they will let their masters do anything with 
thera, are frightened hy our strange attire, and will not allow us 
to come near them and examine their saddles, which are of 
wood, with very short stirrups not coming below their bellies, so 
that the rider sits with his knees on the level of his stomach. 

After having completed our purchases, we get ready for a 
start, the Thibetans remaining with us and feeling the canvas of 
the tent and the texture of our garments, while the English 
saddles puzzle them not a little as they turn them round and 
round. They want us to explain to them how we use our weapons, 
and are astounded at the distance to which a bullet from the 
Berdane rifle is propelled, though it is clear that the revolvers 
make the deepest impression upon them. 

We put a watch up against the ear of one of the lads, and he 
is delighted to hear it tick. He looks at the hands, too ; but it 
is the beating of the heart within that chiefly excites his wonder. 
We take advantage of his friendly attitude to ask him in what 
direction Lhassa lies, and he points not to the west, like his father, 
but to the south-east. We reward him with a bit of sugar, 
which these people appreciate highly, though even to that they 
would have preferred the canvas of our tent, and some tea and 
tobacco. Having found that we should not go westward, where, 
as they say, their tents are, they make off towards the plain with 
their flocks, whistling and swinging their lassoes. 

It is curious to hear the reflections of our men as soon as the 
Thibetans have gone. A few days ago you might have sworn 
that they would have taken any of their fellow-men into their 
affections, but now they make the most uncomplimentary com- 
ments on the ugliness and dirtiness of these natives, their greed and 
their suspiciousness. The young woman with her besmeared face 
is described as a monster, and only the sheep and horses are 
exempt from unfavourable criticism. Nevertheless, the spirits 
of our men have improved, and the dovvnheartedness and 



despair engendered by solitude have disappeared, as I can see this 
evening when our tent is pitched in the middle of a river-bed 
partly dry. They are anxious to guard against being taken 
by surprise and attacked at night, and the tents are placed in a 
triangular shape, so that a look-out may be kept in all directions, 
while the horses and camels are hobbled and placed in the centre 
of the camp. Arms are examined and well greased, and we shall 
sleep with our guns out of their cases. For have we not come 
again upon our brethren, part of the great human family ? 

We are on the high road to Lhassa; of that there can be no 
doubt, and the certainty will save us a great deal of trouble, for 
the farther we go the better marked the route will be. The worst 
part of the business is that our animals are nearly done up, and 
that several of our men have great difficulty in advancing. Old 
Imatch is the worst, his feet being frost-bitten. One of his big 
toes is nearly dropping off, and his sores are so dreadful that it is 
a wonder he can keep on his horse. He is constantly suffering 
from mountain sickness, and we can do nothing to relieve it, for 
what he needs is his native steppe on the level of the sea, which 
he will probably never see again. 

If we could only come upon a suitable spot to halt and nurse 
him ! But the whole of this region is the same ; it is a lofty 
steppe, inhabited by a few wretched nomads, with the west wind 
constantly blowing. Our stages are short, for although the route 
is as good as could be desired, we cannot go more than twelve 
miles a day without fatiguing poor Imatch, while Abdullah 
is a bad walker, and Parpa is so weak that he can scarcely 
follow the camels. 

If we had a few vigorous and determined men, we might, by a 
coup de main, seize as many of the Thibetans' horses as we require, 
load them, and march direct on Lhassa. But there are not enough 
of us, and we must resign ourselves to dragging along and 
awaiting more favourable circumstances. 


February 1. — This morning, with a west wind and a cloudy 
sky, we came in sight of a flock of yaks and sheep making for the 
region we had just traversed. Not one of them came our wav, 
and perhaps some kind friend has told the herdsmen we want 
animals of different kinds and are armed to the teeth ! 

Just as we were loading and about to start, not reckoning that 
our friends of yesterday would bring us the animals we offered to 
buy, five horsemen appeared in sight, pulled up at a distance of 
two or three hundred yards, put the horses in charge of one of 
their number, and came on foot into our camp. We recognise the 
little old man of yesterday, and he again very politely puts out 
his tongue, and is imitated by his companions, whom we had not 
seen before. One of them has an aquiline profile, his pigtail 
is ornamented with agates, inferior turquoises, and copper rings, 
and his pelisse is edged with leopard-skin. These people place 
at our feet a small jar of milk, which emits an odour sufficient 
to prevent any of us making a rush for it, a piece of rancid butter 
rolled up in a piece of skin, and a small bag of zamba or roasted 

They examine us with great curiosity, but are very reserved in 
their replies to our questions, and display remarkable rapacity. 
The old man, whom we ask about the horses he has promised us, 
says that there are none, for they have gone off westward. We 
can get nothing out of these fellows, who pretend not to under- 
stand whenever we pronounce the names of Lhassa, Namtso, 
or Ningling Tangla. Fortunately, one of them is less suspicious, 
or more intelligent, and while the others are having their attention 
drawn off, we enter into negotiations with this poor wretch, 
who is very scantily clad, and has the profile of a negro, 
with scarcely perceptible eyes, and the forehead of a child. We 
begin by offering him a lump of sugar, one or two dried apricots, 
and some raisins, all of which he thinks delicious. Then we tell 
him that we are going to offer prayer to the Talai-Lama, where- 

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upon the fervent Thibetan at once throws his cap to the ground, 
falls on to his knees, clasps his hands, and turns instinctively in 
the direction of Lhassa, as he mumbles his " Om mane padmé 
houm," which we repeat after him. We explain that all the 
contents of our chests are for the Talai-Lama, and he at once 
approves of this, nothing being too good for that divinity ; but at 
the same time he stretches out his hand and makes a gesture as 
of eating. So we give him some more apricots, and crack the 
stone of one, showing him how to get at the kernel. He 
imitates the operation, and makes a movement of satisfaction 
with his tongue. 

Then, pointing to the direction in which he was prostrating 
himself just now, we whisper — 

" Lhassa ? " 

And he, first looking to see whether his companions are 
watching him, makes an affirmative motion with his head. We 
then said to him, in Thibetan, " How many days to Lhassa ? " But 
instead of answering, he put out his hand for a piece of sugar, 
then, having hidden himself behind our tent, he traced on the 
sand a curved line in a south-easterly direction and placed some 
argol, at the end of the line, saying, as he put his finger on it, 

Then we sjoeak to him about the great salt deposit of 
Burben-cho, as it is called on the maps, and which he 
pronounced " Boultso ; " whereupon he placed another piece 
of dung on the curved line. When we pronounced the 
name of Namtso (the Tengri Nor of the Mongols), he put 
an argol upon the curved line a little farther ; and when we 
suddenly say, " Ningling Tangla," he falls on his knees, places 
an argol to the south of Lake Namtso, and prays fervently to the 
holy mountain. He gets up and puts out his hand for another 
and yet another apricot, and, by way of thanking us, opens a 
mouth like that of a crocodile, from which he protrudes a massive 


tongue like that of an ox, covering the whole of his chin. Father 
Dedeken thinks it would fill the whole of an ox-tongue tin. 

He is gradually getting more familiar, and in reply to our 
inquiries says it is three days' journey to Boultso, eight to 
Namtso, and twelve to Lhassa. 

If he is speaking the truth, as seems probable, his estimates 
refer to the time he himself took on the journey, not to the time 
we should take. We find it difficult to get rid of him, so greedy 
is he for more apricots; but he goes at last, and, despite the 
amiable invitation of the Thibetans to visit their camp to the 
west, we follow the route leading south-east. It traverses the 
steppe coated with snow ; and as the horizon is misty, we see 
no high chain, only ridges divided by valleys, in which domes- 
ticated flocks are roaming not far from wild animals. Now and 
again we catch a glimpse of black tents, and over them " prayers " 
fluttering from the end of a pole ; but we do not approach any of 
these dwellings, as they are some way off the road. 

February 2. — A body of horseman, well mounted, and all of 
them armed, after watching us from a distance, draw near. 
Greetings are exchanged, and we try to persuade them to sell lis 
some horses. They look at the silver, but do not reply, so, being 
anxious to know what they mean, we take possession of an 
animal which would suit us. Its owner remains with us, but the 
others go off; and when we name a price, the Thibetan refuses, 
explaining that the " Bembo," or chief, would punish him if he 
sold the horse without permission. So we let him go, after 
having made him a present and urged him to bring us plenty 
of zamba for our animals. He replies that he will be willing 
enough, but that only the " Bembo " can decide. 

February 3. — Two natives come to offer us some dried sheep 
carcases, and after a good deal of preliminary fencing we obtain 
information. According to one of these men, the route goes 
through the plain as far as Ningling Tangla, and there is plenty of 


grass, ice, and snow. He seems to be unusually intelligent, as lie 
endeavours to let Father Dedeken understand him by pronouncing 
with great distinctness the names of the places he mentions. He 
was rendered thus loquacious by the present of a handglass, and 
the promise of a small chromo -lithograph if he spoke the truth 
stimulated his desire to be of use. As he rode along by our side, 
we passed some camel-droppings, and on our asking him what these 
were, he replied, " Tangout," this being the name given to the 
Kalmucks ; so that we have come again upon the traces of our 
pilgrims at the same time that we have discovered the high road. 
He gave us to understand that there is no more direct route than this 
to Lhassa. One soon gets used to these barbarian physiognomies, 
for we begin to detect intelligence in this vendor of dried meat. 
As he accompanied us to our bivouac, and night set in, we invited 
him to stay with our men, but he preferred going off to his /dim 
(dwelling) after letting his horse browse on a few roots of grass. 
The moon was up, and he pointed to it, as much as to say he 
should be able to find his way. He thanked us effusively, with 
uplifted thumbs and protruding tongue, for all the presents we 
had given him ; and when we gave him back the meat we did 
not want, and told him to keep the price of it, he prostrated 
himself and explained that our generosity was well placed, because 
" those you saw yesterday are the chiefs, and I am poor." So 
there are rich and poor everywhere. 

With bright moonlight and a light westerly breeze, we 
have a minimum of 24° below zero, and no longer camp in 
sheltered corners, but on elevated places, where we at once 
command the plain and are sufficiently removed from the heights 
to have time to fire several shots at horsemen who might gallop 
down on us. 

We have some excellent watch-dogs, that keep us informed of 
all that is going on in the camp. One of them, a mastiff' with a 
long red coat, is in the habit of sleeping at a distance of over 


300 feet from the camp, and of keeping on the watch all night, 
so that it would be he who would warn the two bassets set to 
look after the tents. These excellent animals seem to under- 
stand the importance of their task, and will not let any Thibetan 
come near without our permission, so we can sleep in perfect 

February 4. — This morning their barking announced the ap- 
proach of some twenty horsemen, who halted at a distance of about 
a third of a mile, pitched their tent, unsaddled their horses, and 
settled themselves. Two of them came towards us, but the 
dogs kept them at a distance, and they sat down and made signs, 
as if to ask for an audience. The dogs having been called in, 
one of the visitors opened the conversation in Mongolian with 
Abdullah, avIio had been taught what to say ; and when the 
Thibetans asked where we came from, he replied, " From the 

" Where are you going ? " 

" In search of a good place." 

"What are you doing? " 

" We have come on the chase, and we have been led on 
towards the south. Our horses and camels are dying of hunger, 
and even some of our men have died. We are very tired, and 
should like to rest." 

" Stay here." 

" Here, and eat the stones ! Until we have found a good 
place we shall not stop." 

" What is your country ? " 

" We are men of the West." 

" You are Pa-Lan, no doubt ? " 

" No." 

" Ah, if you are Pa-Lan, I shall get into trouble if I let you 
pass. Come and talk with us in our tent." 

" I must ask permission of my chiefs." 


Abdullah came and told us what had occurred, and received 
permission to go and converse with the ambassadors, though he 
was strictly cautioned to keep a watch over his words and to appear 
ignorant when asked any awkward question. On his return he 
reported that the men said that on the first day of our arrival 
they sent a letter to Lhassa asking for orders, and that the reply 
had come — 

"If they are Pa-Lan " (that is, English or Russians), "let 
them not come farther, but let them be supplied with what they 
require for returning. If they are not Pa-Lan, ask them for 
their passport and send them on to Lhassa." 

The Thibetan chief expressed a wish to have an interview with 
the chief of our party, but Abdullah put him off by saying that 
his chief was taking his rest ; adding, " When he is ready, I will 
inform you, and then you can come and bring him some butter." 
When the Thibetans did come, Abdullah said, " You are too 
petty chiefs to converse with ours ; but if you will sell some horses, 
we will buy them of you ; if not, you may be off." Whereupon 
they went off without saying anything, and sat down about a 
hundred yards away. 

In the meanwhile we packed our things and went on our 
way, arriving by a pass of 15,700 feet upon a plateau, at the foot 
of which, to the east, is a rather large lake, which we supposed to 
be the " Burben-cho," as the shores were covered with salt, and we 
had been told the water of this lake was so salt that one could 
not keep it in the mouth. 

We closed in as we drew near this lake, for numerous detach- 
ments of armed horsemen appeared on the ridges, some of whom 
advanced towards us. When the stragglers came up, we encamped 
to the west of the lake, near a frozen spring, the water of which is 
drinkable, and which receives the downpour from the hills, where 
most of the Thibetan horsemen are going to pass the night. 
They will be about a third of a mile from us, and we can see 



them lighting their fires and wandering about the plain to pick 
up argol. 

The Boultso, or Burben-cho, runs back into the mountains, 
where it seems to form gulfs. So, at least, we judge, for the sun- 
shine transforms it into some resemblance to the Lake of Lucerne. 


But this view is incorrect, for it is evident that we are the victims 
of the mirage, and that the water we fancy we can see in the 
distance does not exist. 

The Burben-cho is a vast salt-pit enveloping what remains of 
a lake, judging by what is seen on the banks. At the foot of 
the platform, which was perhaps the shore to which the water 
formerly attained, we find the traces of numerous camels, and by 
the footmarks it is clear they must have remained several days. 
It is probable that the Torgots sojourned here and pastured 
their animals, for the grass is cropped very close, and ours 



do not find anything to eat. There is, moreover, a total lack 
of snow. 

When we unload, the Thibetans come close up, and we 


recognise among them the meat-vendors of the previous day, 
but we pretend not to see them, and leave the dogs to keep them 
at a distance. So they return to their rocks, where they will 
pass the night. They walk along very slowly, in conversation, 
and I have no trouble in catching them up. I am anxious to get 
a close view of them and to make the acquaintance of the old man 
whom our interpreter describes as their chief. He is a little, old 


man, dressed like his subjects and quite as dirty, but he has 
a nose which seems as if it were formed of three enormous mul- 
berries, one representing the tip and the two others the nostrils. 
This magisterial appendix, flanked by two small but intelligent 
eyes, does not detract from the good-natured expression of his face, 
round which his long hair flows in a fashion that reminds one of 
the wig worn by the Grand Monarque. We look at each other with 
keen interest, and having greeted Mongolian fashion, " Sen Bene, 
Sen Bene !" I give him my card, in the shape of a lump of sugar. 
He eyes me, mumbling something I cannot catch, and his com- 
panions, whenever I look at them, turn their eyes away with alarm. 
One of them attracts my special attention, for he is thin and 
lanky, with hair hanging down his cheeks, an elongated, neck, and 
emaciated face — quite the type of the scholastious in the farces 
of the Middle Ages. I can scarcely help laughing when I 
look at him ; but he is stiff and upright, and turns his face 
away from mine, half in terror, half in disgust, muttering 
" Pa-Lan, Pa-Lan," as if I were some sort of unclean 
animal. They look at me again for a moment, and then 
make off with the short rapid steps which are peculiar to 
them, while their looped-up pelisses flap against their thighs 
like petticoats. 

February 5. — The cold is still intense, the minimum of last 
night being 22° below zero ; but the wind has gone down. This 
morning the old chief with a Louis XIV. head of hair returns, 
escorted by twenty Thibetans. He again explains to the inter- 
preter what a delicate position he is in, and that he will be punished 
if he lets us through. Why could we not await the orders from 
Lhassa in a nice place where we should get grass, fresh meat, water, 
and everything we could desire ? He would like to present his 
respects to us in person ; but we decline to receive him until he 
has sold us some horses. We want them, and if he is well- 
disposed, that is the best way of showing it. To this he replies 


that lie will sell or even give us sheep, but that he dares not let 
us have horses without an order. 

Father Dedeken then goes to see him, and the old man offers 
him three lumps of fat sewn up in a skin, which he places upon 
a light scarf (called " the scarf of happiness ") spread upon the 
ground, putting the other end of the scarf upon Father Dedeken's 
knee. The latter asks him if this salt-pit is really the Burben-cho, 
and the old man taps him on the arm, as much as to say, " Don't 
make fun of me ; you know the country as well as I do." 

He is very puzzled to know what to make of us, for we have no 
Thibetans in our troop, and have arrived by a route which he 
does not know himself, while we have no guide, and our band is 
composed of men of various races in strange dress. We go along 
without asking our way, halting near the ice at places where 
others have already encamped, as if we were going over ground 
we had traversed before. He then goes to the Dungan, and shows 
him documents, with Chinese seals affixed to them, which confer 
upon him the police powers he exercises. Then, thinking to 
touch our camel-driver in a weak point, he adds — 

" You say that you are Chinese, but every respectable China- 
man travels with his papers in order, and cannot leave the country 
without the permission of his mandarins. There is no saying 
what your antecedents are." 

This is too much for the Dungan, who pounces upon the 
bag in which his papers are put away, unfolds them, and puts 
them under the nose of the old Thibetan. 

" There ! Have you any such papers as these ? Now do 
you believe that I am an honest man ? Compare your papers 
with mine. Your papers are those of a nobody — mine are 
very different. My seals are double the size of yours, and 
my passports were delivered by great mandarins, but your 
diploma does not signify anything. By what right do you 
meddle with my affairs, or dare to speak in such a way 


to a man who has in his possession passports with seals of 
this size ? " 

The argument of the seals is too much for the Thibetan, who 
goes off clumfouncled. It is evident that these people do not 
know who we are, and that they will not come to any decision 
until they do. It is to our advantage not to enlighten them, as 
we can do without their assistance. 

So we march on through the bare steppe and climb a range of 
hills, near the summit of which we encamp, beside a pass and not 
far from an abundant spring which descends, in the form of ice, 
towards the eastern part of the valley. On the other side of the 
ice we see a black tent ; and as it is the first we have come within 
reach of, go to have a look at it, and are greeted by the bark- 
ing of four black dogs, which show their teeth, and seem 
disposed to attack us but are called off by two people who come out 
of the tent. One of these is very old, and is led by the other, 
who is very diminutive. The elder, bent by years, has a head 
which, with its close-cropped grey hair, reminds me of the 
" Diogenes " of Velasquez. He has small weak eyes, out of which 
he can scarcely see, and he takes Father Dedeken for a Chinaman, 
and greets him with the word " Loïé." His companion is a girl 
of about eight, who would perhaps be pretty if she were cleaner ; 
but it is evident that she has never been washed, her round face, 
with its imperceptible nose, being a mixture of black and yellow. 
Her dress is a sheepskin, with a piece of wool to tie it in at the 
waist ; and she carries a small knife in a leather sheath at her side. 
Bareheaded like the old man, she wears her hair loose down her 
back, with a plait twisted over the forehead. 

We re-conduct the aged lama — for such we recognise him to be 
by his close-cropped hair — back to his dwelling, and, after we have 
given him some dried fruits, we begin to converse. He assures 
us that the salt-pit near which we encamped yesterday was the 
JJurben-cho, and tells us that the chain of mountains is called 

•^ ray) ■*■■>. f^rfï. 


the Burben-cho Be (the mountain of Burben-cho), and that the 
Namtso is at four clays' march by a very easy route. This poor 
old man is very amiable, and we ask him for some milk, as we see 
that he has numerous yaks feeding lower down, but he says the 
grass is so bare that they are now nearly dry. 

Their tent is made of a sort of black woollen stuff, and it 
covers a surface of about four yards square ; it is kept up at the 
corners by pegs that are attached to other pegs by means of 
long ropes that can either be pulled taut or loosened as 
required. The black mass from which all these ropes are stretched 
has the aspect of a vast spider with an eye in the back, this being 
the opening for the smoke at the top. The door of the tent is 
to the east, owing to the prevalence of westerly winds, protection 
against which is afforded by a high wall of argol, which is much 
used for constructions of various kinds. 

While looking over this domain we observe what appear to 
be round ovens, or mounds coming about up to one's waist. These 
are silos, constructed of argol on the level of the soil, probably 
because it would be difficult to dig into it, and they contain bits 
of stuff, tufts of wool, and even high, broad-brimmed hats, or 
head-dresses, while yak-skins are spread out near the tent, 
close to small round pots of red earth. Slabs of schist, with 
prayers engraved on them, are deposited behind the tent ; that is 
to say, in the direction of the west wind, which is supposed to 
utter them as it goes by. 

Some distance off is the site of an abandoned tent, which 
enables us to form an idea of what a Thibetan interior is like. 
A number of stones are put together in a square, and form a sort 
of substructure for the tent. In the centre is an oven made of 
clay and flat stones, while in the corner is a box for holding argol, 
where we in France should have one for fire-wood. The saddle 
and mill are of the most primitive kind, and among other objects 
are a basket made of withies and the skull of a yak converted 


into a vase. A few round stones have been used as pestles or 
hammers, while the objects the owners have wished to keep and 
use again on their return have been put away in one of the 
silos. Another contains a great many droppings of lambs, and 
it is doubtless in these places that the lambs are sheltered, while 
their parents sleep in the open. 

February 6. — The light being bad yesterday, it was not till 
this morning that Prince Henry could photograph this dwelling, 
and the operation was a more complicated one than might be 
imagined, for it was necessary to keep clear of the dogs and, if pos- 
sible, get a portrait of the inhabitants.* We have great difficulty 
in beating off the angiw clogs, when a man with a long nose and a 
very high forehead comes out and calls them off by throwing 
them bits of dried yak ; and while we are getting the apparatus 
ready, a woman's head peers out from behind the curtain of the 
tent. She is quite a caricature of a human being, her profile 
being that of a monkej^, just touched up so as to make her slightly 
resemble a woman. By dint of giving her plenty of raisins, 
peaches, and apricots, we get her to put out the rest of her body, 
and, urged on by the old man whose acquaintance we made 
yesterday, she stands at the door, holding her daughter by the 
hand. She is very diminutive in stature, and clad of course in 
sheepskin. Her eyes are horizontal, and the pupil is a mere 
speck of brown merged in a very dark-stained cornea almost 
as brown ; the cheek-bones are prominent, the chin broad and 
protruding. She keeps her mouth open, her thick lips being 
puckered up, so that she has a good-humoured but unintelligent 
smile. Her hair, parted on the forehead, falls down over 
her cheeks and back in small tresses ornamented with stones and 
shells, and tied together at the ends with a bit of ribbon. 
She cannot be called good-looking, but we have succeeded in 

* M. Bouvalot does not say the occupants of the tent had returned during the night,. 
but this is to be inferred. — Translator's Note. 



winning lier goodwill and that of the men of her family, for 

when we give her another bit of sugar, she and the man stretch 

out their thumbs and clasp 

their hands, this being their 

way of saying a friendly 


After going eastwards 
along the chain of Bur- 
ben -cho, we made a bend to 
the south-east, where we 
came upon the route which 
we had momentarily lost 
sight of, and encamped in a 
valley near some tents, where 
we met with a rather un- 
friendly reception from both 
men and dogs. We suc- 
ceeded, however, in getting a 
little argol ; but as to milk, 
it was impossible to obtain a 
drop, the yaks not yielding 

It is high time, neverthe- 
less, that the Thibetans 
should show us a little good- 
will, for old Imatch is quite done up. He cannot stand, and 
can only creep along on his knees. He has to be helped on 
to his horse, and yesterday he begged us to abandon him on 
the route, saying that he was doomed, and could be of no 
further use to us. We do the best we can, but are powerless 
to relieve him. Parpa has fallen down several times during the 
day's march, and we have had to go and fetch him with a camel 
at a hundred yards from the bivouac, which he could not reach. 


A PETTY CHIEF (p. 27). 


Little Abdullah is not much better ; he can only get along by 
holding on to the girth of a camel, and is incapable of carrying 
his gun. We absolutely must have horses, and shall seize them 
at the first opportunity. 

February S. — Last night a south-westerly wind blew with 
great violence, and this morning our men complain of headache 
and singing in the ears, while Imatch and the others who are 
ill groan lamentably. So we start in poor spirits for the pass, 
the summit of which is indicated by an obo. 

Orders have no doubt been sent to the Thibetans, for 
the flocks have been dispersed since daybreak, and we cannot 
get within reach of the horses ; while in the tents we pass, there 
are only old people, women, and children, the men, with their 
arms, having made off. It is evident that a void is being made 
around us, and though so far we have been very gentle in our 
dealings, we must now resort to other methods. 

At the foot of the pass, near a frozen stream, we saw three 
men eatiug zamba, which they were cooking at an aryol-ûre. 
We went up to them and asked for a horse for a sick man. 
They feigned not to understand, and would not even look at the 
money we offered them ; but as their horses were close by, we took 
one for Parpa, and kept them at a distance with our revolvers. 

February 9. — Luring the night the sheep purchased from 
the first lot of Thibetans were stolen. We are determined that 
whenever we require fresh meat we will take it. 

The pass is 17,300 feet high, and the descent an easy one, 
leading to a valley in which we see, for the first time, white tents, 
occupied by armed men. As soon as they notice us they run off 
to collect their horses, which are roaming about. At the foot of 
the pass we see — also for the first time — a large number of prayers 
engraved upon the stones, as mentioned by Father Hue, in his 
description of the high road of the pilgrims. It is clear, there- 
fore, that we are drawing near to the holy city. 


I should have mentioned that on the 8th about forty armed 
horsemen hovered about our camp, and the old man with the 
bulbous nose who speaks Mongolian came with another chief 
better dressed than himself, and almost clean. He begged us to 
halt, " for our lives were at stake." We asked him to cease 
joking at a time when two of our men were very ill. 

Climbing another pass, we can see from the top, despite the 
mist and the dust, a corner of the great lake below us ; and to 
the south, much farther up, some white peaks, which seem to 
emerge from a formidable chain, not impossibly the Singling 
Tangla. We are approaching a group of mountains, the passes 
are more numerous, and the route follows valleys a mile or two 
wide, the country having the aspect of the Pamir. 

The west wind tries us very much, but, nevertheless, it seems 
as if winter were about to end, for we have seen a flight 
of pigeons and another of sparrows. Wild asses and antelopes 
abound, and we notice a number of small lakes which are 
gradually drying up, their shores being white with salt. 

February 10. — We are now in a steppe covered in many 
places with stones, and here and there with grass. While scaling 
yet another pass, we again come upon very distinct footmarks of 
camels dating from last year. 

February 11. — We traverse a valley which is a marsh during 
the rainy season, and in the course of the march receive a 
visit from a Thibetan chief who seems to us to be tipsy. He 
wears a red cloak and boots of the same colour, and carries in his 
hand a prayer-mill with plates of silver on it, which he turns 
incessantly. He has come all the way to say to us in Mongolian, 
" Tengri mo sen, ta mo sen, char mo sen;" which means, "Sky 
not good, horse not good, town not good." Thereupon he 
galloped off, having told us nothing new, except that some 
Mongolian pilgrims must have made a stay in his country, for 
he had picked up a few words of their language. 


February 12. — À violent west wind seals the fate of poor old 
Imatcli. He sobs when the time comes for starting, and send- 
ing for Parpa savs : " You remember that I am in your debt. 
At Tcharkalik I bought some boots of you, and did not pay for 
them. If Allah pleases to let me get better, I will pay you for 
them. If I die, you will pay yourself with what I have left, and 
keep the rest; for you gave me to drink during the night." 

I try to cheer him up by saying that we shall soon reach a 
town, and that we are all fond of him, and anxious to nurse him. 
He says : " Thank you, and forgive me if I do not attend to 
my work. But I cannot. Death is at hand, and has already 
taken possession of my legs. Forgive me. I will not sob any 
more. I will not give way to despair. It is all over." 

We get the poor fellow mounted as best we can, and start 
very downhearted, resuming our course to the south-east. For 
the first time we see upon the heads of three very ugly women 
a tall head-dress, not unlike a pope's tiara. Our stage, though 
longer than that of yesterday, in order that we may encamp near 
a lake, is only ten miles, so exhausted are we. 

A number of sheep are feeding close by, and as, whenever we 
try to speak to the natives, they make off, we determine to kill 
some of the flock for our personal use. The old woman who is in 
charge of them makes off, uttering piercing shrieks. lîachmed 
has had the good sense to pick out some fine fat lambs. In the 
rough ground near the lake we see some men encamped, with 
five or six horses close at hand, and Prince Henry and myself 
determine to try and seize them. The Thibetans make a dash 
to be off, but not in time to prevent our securing one of their 
horses, their leader, and one of his men. Their weapons had 
been laid down in a heap, and they did not make any effort to 
prevent us seizing them, but were up on their horses and off. 
We fired a few shots from a revolver after them, which only 
quickened their flight. 



The old man whom we have made prisoner sits dazed, and 
puts out his tongue in a most beseeching way. He has a lot of 
small bags containing provisions, and he offers us in turn, b}^ way 
of mollifying us, handfuls of powdered cheese, zamha, and dried 
meat. These we refuse, and he sits there muttering prayers and 

LAKE NAMTSO (p. 32). 

looking at us with evident anxiety and fear. After letting him 
be alarmed for the moment, we proceed, when the rest of our men 
have come up, to explain that if we want horses it is because 
several of our men cannot walk, and that we are prepared to pay 
a good price, while be raises his thumb by way of satisfaction 
when we call him " appa," " popeunn -' ("father," "brother"). 

Our dogs alarm him very much, and he begs us to call them 
away ; but we reassure him by saying that they do not bite those 
whom we call " brothers." Then we give him a supply of sugar, 
and when be has tasted it he cannot hide his satisfaction, while 


after he has had some raisins and apricots, he in turn calls us 
" brothers." Then we show him silver bars, and bargain 
with him for his horse, while, to prove that our intentions are 
good, we set his companion at liberty and allow him to carry 
off his pelisse. The latter jumps at the offer, and skelters off 
without any concern for his master. 

At this juncture a horseman arrives with a red pendant 
fastened to the barrel of his gun. He says that he is the owner 
of the sheep killed by Rachmed, and we at once offer him some 
tea, which he drinks out of a cup done up in his pelisse, as his 
religion forbids men of his race to let their lips touch any- 
thing which impure lips have approached. This may appear 
singular to Europeans, and is perhaps only a preventive against 
certain contagious diseases, very necessary in a country where 
the crockery is never washed. 

In the meanwhile a silver bar has been taken out of a bag and 
shown to him. He asks to be allowed to test it ; and when we 
tell him that the stamp which he has noticed is Pekin, he seems 
reassured, and repeats " Pétsin, Pétsin." Nevertheless, when we 
weigh him out the price of Iris lambs, he again examines the 
money before putting it into a small bag hanging round his neck. 
When we give him a small handglass, he does not at first 
understand its use ; but when the chief, our prisoner, sees 
himself in it, he laughs almost like an idiot, and explains the 
secret to his friend, the latter going off in high glee. The 
prisoner himself is quite at ease, and asks to be allowed to 
sleep where he is, only begging us to keep off the dogs and let 
him have a mirror. This we promise, and in the meanwhile pay 
him for his horse, which we fasten up close to our tents. 

February 13. — Our dogs barked all night, and were answered 
by others in the distance, while in the semi-darkness that precedes 
day the wolves were howling dolefully. At this moment, as 
I go out of the tent, Rachmed comes to say that Imatch has just 


died. Yesterday, when I asked him how he was, he replied 
" Better," and, though his breath was short and his face swollen, 
he drank his tea with pleasure. He took an interest, too, 
in what was going on in the tent, and I had noticed him 
putting argots on the fire, from sheer force of habit, like the 
true man of the steppe he was. Placing him near the entrance 
to the tent, which was his favourite place, we had rolled him well 
up in his pelisse and rugs, and he had stretched himself out 
to sleep. When asked if there was anything he would like, he 
said "No," and we did not think his end was so near. Eachmed's 
account of his last moments was as follows : — 

" When the wolves howled, Imatch called out, 'Parpa, give 
me some water; I am thirsty.' To which Parpa replied, 'The 
water is frozen, but I will go and light a fire and melt some ice 
for you to drink.' Then, when the ice was ready, Imatch drank 
it without help, but with some difficulty, and said how glad he 
was to quench his last thirst. Then he stretched himself out and 
began to groan a little. All at once he jumped up, went out of 
the tent on his knees, and returned to his couch. We got the tea 
ready, and offered him a cup as soon as it was made. But he could 
not keep down the first mouthful, and, putting back the cup, he 
called us all — ' Timour, Iça, Abdullah, Parpa, Eachmed ! ' We 
all gathered round him, and, raising himself on his elbow, he 
uttered the following words, broken by sighs : ' I shall not arrive. 
Allah will not take me any farther. Grood-bye. I am very pleased 
with you all. You have taken great care of me. Good-bye. I 
am gone ! ' He fell back, and in a moment his spirit had fled." 

Such is the narrative to which we listen by the glimmer of our 
lantern, for day has not yet dawned, and as soon as it is light we 
will bury, him in a hollow spot down in the quagmire. Imatch 
had followed us all the way from Djarkent, from the frontier of 
Siberia. We all liked him ; for if he was rough of speech, he was 
good-hearted, plucky, and a hard worker. He took great care of 


his camels, which had formerly belonged to him in part; but 
having fallen into the clutches of a usurer, he had to sell them 
and become the servant of his creditor, who had sold them to us 
for at least double what he had paid Imatch for them. As we 
paid him high wages, he reckoned upon being able to purchase 
back his camels and " become Imatch himself again," as he put it. 

But Allah had decided otherwise, and the poor Kirghis will 
not see his native steppe again. We lay him in the earth, 
wrapped in the felt which served him for a bed. We turn his 
face to the south-east, and our men bring stones and earth to 
cover his body, while prayers are recited with the accompaniment 
of sobs and tears. 

Then we prepare to start for the Namtso, which, according to 
onr prisoner, whom we set at liberty, giving him presents, and 
letting him have the arms we captured yesterday, is on the 
other side of a chain of hills over which our road leads. The 
certainty that the Tengri Nor — the Namtso, as the Thibetans 
say — is there, gives us fresh vigour, and we only regret our horses 
cannot follow us. Father Dedeken and Prince Henry have to 
abandon theirs, and only two were destined to reach the holy 

When we get to the summit of the pass, we perceive the 
Ningling Tangla and the eastern extremity of the lake, and 
we scale the neighbouring heights, so as to take in a wider 
horizon. At our feet, between cliffs to the west, from which 
descend promontories, forming gulfs and bays, the lake glitters 
like a beautiful silver mirror, round in shape, but oval like an 
egs*. To the south-west the lake skirts a hill, and extends much 
farther ; but whether this hill forms part of an island or a 
peninsula we cannot tell. The Ningling Tangla arrests our 
attention much longer, as this chain unfolds before us its summits 
and peaks capped with snow, quite shutting out the horizon. 
We are struck by the nearly equal altitude of this long row of 



peaks, surmounting spurs which descend towards the lake in 
regular rows like the tents of an encamped army ; and just in 
the centre we can see, towering over all the rest, four large icy 
peaks which the Thibetans revere, for behind them is Lhassa, the 
" cit} r of the spirits." 

Descending the stony and sandy slope, we reached the shores 
of the lake. Looking at the lake from the northern side, we did 
not see any snow upon the ridge which skirts it, whereas the 
Ningling Tangla is quite white, thus illustrating the Thibetan 
saying, " The water of the Namtso is made of the snow of the 
Singling Tangla." 

As we go southward the lake seems to open out in a south- 
westerly direction ; and as long as the mist prevents us from 
seeing the end of it, we might take it to be a boundless sea. 
The evening sun, striking the ice, makes it sparkle like jewels ; 
and we can well appreciate the origin of its name, " the lake of 









At Namtso — Encamping Near Ningling Tangla Pass — An Embassage — The Thibetans Un- 
decided — The Caravan in Battle Array — A Mandarin — A Mongolian Interpreter— Arrival 
of the Arnban from Lhassa — Giving Him Audience — His Suite and Their Costumes —A 
Long Interview — The Thibetans' New Year's Day — In the Amban's Tent — Gibeonites 
— Another Mongolian Interpreter— The Apathy of Thibetans — A Storm — Arrival of 
the Ta-Lama and the Ta- Amban— Plain Speaking — Refusal to Return — The Ta-Lama 
and the Ta-Amban Described — Abdullah and the Dungan at their Devotions — Colloquy 
between Rachmed and Timour — Thibetans at Work — Their General Characteristics — 
Carnivorous Horses — The Samda Kansain Mountains — The Samda Tchou River — A Blade 
of Grass— How They do Business at Lhassa. 

Our arrival at Namtso is an im- 
portant event for us. Although 
we are the first Europeans 
actually to behold it, it is 
marked ou the maps, thanks to 
the researches of the pundit 
Nain-Singh. At last we are 
safe out of the unknown country 
in which we have been since 
leaving the pass of Amban 
Ashkan Dawan, and we know 
now where we are. This 
thought would cheer us but for 
the pitiful condition of our 
little troop, for our camels have no strength, and all means of 
transport will soon fail us. 

We purpose staying here a day, not so much to rest our 
beasts — for they are too far gone to enjoy a rest — as to prolong 
their lives a little by letting them feed on the grass which sur- 
rounds our camp pretty thickly. Up till now we have not seen 
the envo}'s of the authorities at Lhassa, a fact which causes us 



no little astonishment, for they ought to have been advised of our 
arrival some time ago, our stages having been very short ones 
since we first met with the men, and couriers having had plenty 
of time to convey the information. 

It is probable, however, that we shall very soon have an 
opportunity of demanding an explanation from the natives, for 
a movement is visible in the little plain formed by the old bed 
of the lake. Bodies of men on horseback are passing at some 
distance from our camp, and are going south. Their intention, 
doubtless, is to gather at the pass by which we shall try to climb 
the Ningling Tangla. I say advisedly " shall try," for a worn- 
out band can attempt nothing with any assurance of success. 
Should we encounter a difficult road, we should have to stop, 
unless favoured by luck, which it does not do to count upon. 
We are not reduced, however, to the last extremit}^, for we have 
still provisions, meat, and tea enough for several months, besides 
sugar, preserved vegetables, and ammunition, while deer, ptarmi- 
gan, and wild asses are within shooting range, and make excellent 
food. But strength is failing, both in man and beast. 

We pass the day shooting, and besides the meat of the 
wild asses, which we procure in this way, we enrich our collection 
of lammergeiers and vultures. On the borders of the lake we 
notice the steam from hot salt-springs, amidst the rocks which 
rise at the north end. Here and there some stunted junipers 
are growing. It is a long time since we have seen any 
semblance of vegetation, and our men literally shout for joy. 
Our instruments tell us that we are at an altitude of 15,321 feet, 
this being very near to the estimate of Nam-Singh, who puts it 
at 15,400 feet. 

February 15. — To-day we do another ten miles to the south, 
crossing at the head of the lake a river which, runs into it. This 
river divides into several small arms which thaw during a part 
of the day only, and that merely on the surface, so that the 


water flows on the top of the ice. Whilst crossing it some of 
ns have an unexpected foot-bath, a thing to which we have for 
a long time been strangers. 

We proceeded to set up our tents not far from the pass which 
crosses the Singling Tangla, on the east of which are some 
magnificent peaks, the highest two of which we christened Hue 
and Gabet, in memory of the courageous missionaries who pene- 
trated to Lhassa. 

On the other side of the ice we were awaited by some of the 
horsemen whom we had seen, and amongst their number was one 
who spoke a little Mongolian. He was in the midst of a group 
of men whose costume, which was comparatively clean, showed 
them to be chiefs. All round us were scattered, at a respectful 
distance, numerous small bands, making several hundred men in 
all, so that we closed up our ranks and grasped our rifles. The 
first use we made of the interpreter, who approached to present 
his superiors to us, was to ask him to inform his compatriots 
that we should fire on any horsemen who approached us, and that 
consequently they would do well to keep their distance until we 
had seen the " great chiefs " with whom we wished to speak, and 
from whom we should learn whether we were in a friendly or 
hostile country. We added that, according to the custom of our 
own country, it would be becoming to wait until we had pitched 
our tents before conversing, and at the same time, with our 
whips, we scattered several who had come too close. 

When we had pitched our tents on a slight elevation to the 
left of the road, the ambassadors came up and were received by 
Dedeken and Abdullah at the fire of the Dungan. Their first 
business was to hand us, as presents, some packets of rancid 
butter and a stone bottle, of European manufacture, containing 
a spirit made from barley, and not unpalatable. They then 
informed us, through Akoun, that they had been sent from 
Lhassa to ask us who we were. During the conversation we 


examined their horses, which seemed excellent. Their baggage 
was transported by mules, which were very strong, though of 
small build. After some time, through one of our men, they 
asked permission to visit us, but we refused on the plea that 
we did not speak their language, and that they were not of 
sufficiently high rank. It is absolutely necessary to give people 
a high opinion of yourself when you are travelling in the East 
and meet with strangers. As they quitted the camp we saw that 
they were well-clothed, in the Chinese fashion, that they were 
taller and stouter than those of their fellow-countrymen whom 
we had so far come across, and that, from their polished manners, 
they evidently belonged to a town. 

Dedeken and Abdullah reported their conversation to us. They 
presented themselves to us as envo} 7 s of the Talai Lama and of the 
Amban of Lhassa, the former being the highest religious authority, 
and the latter one of the greatest civic personages, a sort of 
Under-Secretary of State. They wished to see our papers, to 
know who we were, for what purpose we were travelling, etc. 
By way of answer to these questions we complained of the manner 
in which we had been received en route ; adding that we could 
not obtain any help, purchase provisions, or hire beasts of 
burden ; that we failed to understand such treatment, seeing that 
we had paid generously for what we had bought on the first day, 
but that, notwithstanding, we had been obliged to seize things 
by force ; and that if they continued to treat us as highwaymen, 
we should behave as such. Thereupon a lama, clad in yellow silk 
and decorated with the bright blue button, spoke volubly and 
expressed his regrets that we had been so treated, begging us to 
understand that no one looked for proper behaviour from savages, 
from " Si fantse," assuring us at the same time that we should, 
for the future, have no cause to complain. Finally, he urged us 
to hand him our papers, and to remain where we were, when our 
wants would be supplied. Dedeken replied that we had need of 


rest, and that we wished to stop at a more convenient spot. 
Abdullah made ns laugh by repeating the illustrations he had 
used when speaking to these savages, as, when he handed them 
sugar and bade them remark its whiteness, " Such is the whiteness 
of our intentions," or, when they drank their tea, "You like it, 
though, before you drank it, you did not like it. So will it be 
with us : when 3'ou have made our acquaintance you will like us 
as much as you do the tea." 

We comment on the events of the day, seated round our pot, 
in which the rancid butter they have given us is melting and emit- 
ting a somewhat disagreeable odour. We come to the conclusion 
that the Thibetans do not know what to decide, and that their 
orders with regard to us are vague. It is probable that we might 
pursue our journey without their daring to stop us ; but, unfortu- 
nately, we have no means of going on, for our beasts are dying. 
We determine, however, to move on the morrow as far as pos- 
sible, convinced that the stage will be an exceedingly short one. 

Febn/ary 16. — The envoys return to the charge, and try to 
convince us that we could not do better than stay where we are. 
They again ask for our papers, and this time learn our nationality. 
We send them back without any answer, merely urging them to 
find a better interpreter of Mongolian, for we cannot understand 
one another. 

We set out on our journey in our best battle-array, with riHes 
on our shoulders, for the plain swarms with horsemen. It seems as 
though they had mustered all their warriors — doubtless to frighten 
us. We enter the pass which rises gently over the ridges, at the 
bottom of which winds a frozen river. Nothing happens as we 
cross it, and on the other side we find waiting the envoys whom 
we had seen the night before. They beg us to remain so as 
to talk amicably with the Amban, who is on his way from 
Lhassa, for they have already made preparations to receive him 
at the bottom of the pass. On the left bank of the frozen 


river which we are descending-, we see numerous black tents, 
yaks with pack-saddles, and some roomy white canvas tents. 
We refuse to halt, protesting that we do not understand what 
they say, as none of them speaks Chinese. Thereupon one of 
them, the lama, clad in yellow, whose features had already re- 
vealed to us his Chinese origin, proceeds immediately to address 
us in that language. "Stop, I beg of you," he urges; "beyond 
the pass you will find bitter water, no grass ; it is a regular 
desert. You may believe me ; if, however, you doubt my word, 
I will lend } t ou my horse, and you can assure yourselves that 
I am speaking the truth." 

My first thought was to accept this offer, and ask for two 
horses, to rejoin our camels which had gone on a little ahead 
during these negotiations ; to order Eachmed to put up tea, sugar, 
bread, and meat for a week, and then to make with him for Lhassa. 
But this would have meant leaving our companions in a difficult 
position, and I quickly abandoned the idea, for this was no time 
for quitting the helm. At the very moment when these thoughts 
occurred to me one of our camels fell, never to rise again, and our 
last horse also fell, so we ordered the vanguard to draw back. 

At the same time, escorted by horsemen, and very closely 
muffled, a mandarin with the blue button comes up, dismounts, 
and, raising the formidable glasses which shade his eyes, discloses 
to us a smooth face, intelligent and affable. Our interpreter 
presents him to us as the Amban himself, who wishes to greet us 
immediately on his arrival, and asks an audience for the morrow. 

He then retires, leaving us to discuss matters with the lama 
(who speaks Chinese) and his interpreter. The latter is a Mon- 
gol, with a fat, jovial, smiling face, with thick lips, beyond 
which protrudes a very long tooth, giving him when he gapes — 
and he is always gaping — a good-natured appearance. He as- 
sures us that the Amban is a very good fellow, and that we shall 
be well satisfied when we come to discuss our affairs the next 


day with him. We try to drag some information out of this in- 
terpreter, but lie shows remarkable discretion, and our questions 
onl} T make him leave us quicker than he would otherwise have 
done. He is evidently restrained by the presence of the Chinese 
lama, or perhaps he is discreet in obedience to strict orders. 

February 17. — Things have not turned out badly, and we still 
hope to reach Batang. It is a question of committing no blunder, 
of winning over the natives, of inspiring them with confidence. 
It is exactly three months since our departure from Tcharkalik, 
during which time we have lived in a desert, climbed many 
mountain chains, drunk frozen water, lit fires with dead wood, 
and shivered under the west wind. And to-day we awake at a 
height of 17,560 feet. A strong west wind is blowing, and we 
are just going to drink our tea round our miserable little fire. 
The only change in our existence is that our advance is checked 
owing to our want of strength, and also because the object which 
we have in view is still so very far off that we can never hope to 
reach it with our own resources ; and, therefore, we must get all 
the help we can from these Thibetans. 

Our circumstances certainly leave much to be desired. In 
the first place, the food is such that the least fastidious appetite 
wearies of it. Our bill of fare is always the same : meat boiled 
in mutton fat, tea that never really boils on account of our 
altitude, and made with water that is sometimes brackish and 
always dirty, which we get by melting ice that is full of im- 
purities. The frozen meat, too, which we have to chop with an 
axe, is always tough, and never cooked through, while when we 
try vegetables or rice, we find it impossible to soften them, and 
they crackle between our teeth. The dust, mud, and sand that 
we have swallowed, and the numerous hairs from our furs and 
beasts, which we find in our food, are things to which we have long 
ceased to pay any attention, for here we have no longer any 
pretensions to cleanliness, and we have come to consider even a 



washing of the hands as a thing of the past. Our cheeks 
puffed out with the cold, our swollen eyes, our chapped lips, 
do not differ much in appearance from those of the natives ; 
and presenting such an aspect we cannot make a very good im- 
pression upon people who see us for the first time. We must 
trust to our actions to rectify the erroneous impression which, at 
first sight, we cannot fail to convey. 

But here is someone to announce the Amban. We stretch 
a clean skin in our men's tent, which is of considerable size, and 
calmly await the coming of the plenipotentiary from Lhassa. He 
arrives on foot, accompanied by from fifteen to twenty inferior 
chiefs of various sizes. Having saluted us politely and with ease, 
he presents us with the cata, the scarf which is the native 
visiting card, and lays presents at our feet — bands of a cotton 
stuff called poulou, red and yellow and worked with small 
crosses ; then butter in sewn skins, and sacks of zamba, i.e. 
fried barley-meal. We beg him to take a seat in our tent, where- 




upon one of his men la} T s clown a small carpet on which the 
Amhan takes his place. On his right is an old lama, whose head 
reminds us of a wrinkled apple — beardless, with shaven head, fat, 
and insignificant, with a rosary in his hand. On his left is the 
Chinese mandarin, wearing a rich Chinese costume. He has regular 
features, smooth chin, thick lips, white teeth, swollen eyelids, 
dark, contracted eyes, with a sly look, and altogether a face that 
is cunning and sarcastic. Next are drawn up, on the side of the 
tent which is not reserved for us, various lamas, who crowd to- 
gether near the entrance, whilst a crowd of servants stand and 
watch the proceedings. These lamas are of an inferior rank, and 
have the tanned faces of men who live much in the open. Their 
features are large, and many of them have a Mongolian cast, with 
their snub noses, prominent cheek-bones, and small e}'es ; at all 
events, they seem to us by no means of pure Thibetan blood. 

Their head-dresses are many and various, ranging from the 
Chinese hat to the Crusader's hooded cloak, the half turban of the 
date of Charles VIL, and monk's hood ; we can recognise them all. 
The cut and colour of their clothes, too, vary, and they wear red, 
green, yellow, and black. Our tent reminds us of a stage on which 
the actors are preparing to play La Tour de Nesle, with the 
characters clad in the garments of the Middle Ages. These 
lamas in their variegated and picturesque costumes do not look 
ill-disposed, and, as is becoming to " supers," do not breathe a 
single word, but squat there on their heels, with an air of indif- 
ference to what is going on. The leading character is evidently 
the Amban, a man of moderate size, and quick action. His face 
is broad and round, his eyes, which are black and of a European 
cast, have a look of sincerity in them ; his lips are thick, his nose 
straight and broad at the end; his forehead prominent; his hair 
plaited, and done up in bands like that of European women. 
Altogether he looks a man of considerable intelligence. He 
speaks in a hoarse voice, telling his beads with long tapering 


fingers, and keeping his head bent towards the ground. He 
pours forth a long tirade in a single breath and a monotonous 
voice : — " We have orders to stop you wherever we meet you, 
and to force you to retrace your steps," he first remarks. We 
reply with a smile that they must not think of making us draw 
back one single step, for we are sick of these tablelands. As to 
stopping us, that would be useless, since we have halted here 
for a conference. But, though tired, we do not want to rest 
too long, for we are anxious to reach a milder climate. 

" Will you go back ? " 

"No, no," we reply; " we would rather die. Ask any one of 
our men whether he would not prefer to die straight off than to 
go through that fearful journey again." 

" We will supply you with all you want for the return." 

"It is no good talking of that, for our mind is fully made 
up. Please, do not reopen the question, for you will only waste 
your time. Besides, even if we were willing, we could not do 
so, for without camels w r e could not manage it, and you have 
none to give us." 

" Where, then, do you want to go ? " 

" Merely to rest in some convenient spot, for we are sick and 
worn out. We have no more horses, our camels are dying, two 
of our servants are dead, and to force us to stop here would mean 
death to us." 

" After you have rested, where will you go ? " 

" We will make for Batang, and, then, striking the Yang-Tse- 
Kiang, follow it to the sea." 

" What is the object of your journey ? " 

" Simply to look about, to shoot, and to improve our minds." 

" Have you seen the Khan of the Torgots ? " 

" No, we have not." 

" By what road did you come ? " 

" By one that we discovered for ourselves." 


" Did } T ou leave your own country long ago ? " 

" It was summer when we left it last year." 

'•' Are 3 t ou Eussians ? " 

" No, we are not." 

What we say does not seem to convince them. The Amban 
utters a few words, and someone brings in a packet enveloped 
in a packing-cloth. From it he produces a box which he opens, 
and draws out a paper folded like a cravat. This he reads, and 
then asks for the details of our journey. How many there 
were at starting, how many horses and camels we had, what 
arms, our names, and those of our men, etc. 

We reply to each question, and the Chinese mandarin writes 
down our names in a sadly mutilated form. The three envo} T s 
then interchange a few words, after which the Amban, taking 
the sheet again, says, " Here is an order which I received two 
months ago from Pekin. It is an order to stop the Eussians, 
Pètsou * of Petsokou arriving with Lobolou and thirty men." 
(Then followed a list of camels, guns, etc.) " You are neither 
Pètsou nor Lobolou, for the names which, you have given us do 
not in the least resemble these. Written information has reached 
us that Niklaï (Nicolas Prjevalsky) is dead, and that Pètsou has 
taken command of the men whom he had got together so as to 
reach Lhassa. We have also been told that other Eussians, f less 
numerous, are travelling in the district of the Koukou Nor, and 
that they are possibly making for Lhassa by the Tsaïdam road. 
Are you these Eussians ? " 

" We are not Eussians at all." 

" Then } t ou are Palan {i.e. English) ? " 

"No." " 

" You must know that the English are the enemies of our 
people, many of whom they have killed with their far-carrying 

* Pevtzoff, of St. Petersburg, and Roborovsky. 
f Tlic brothers Gram Grjima'ilo. 


guns, and our people do not want the English to penetrate into 
Thibet at any price." 

" No, we are not English, we are French." 

As, however, our Mongolian interpreter renders "French" by 
" Tarang " and then translates "Tarang" into Thibetan by 
" Palan," the Amban believes us to acknowledge that we are 
English — a contradiction that he cannot understand. The only 
means by which we can explain our nationality is to use the 
Chinese expression whilst addressing the lama who speaks this 
language, consequently we say to him, "We are ta fa kié " i.e. 

The lama who acts as secretary,- thereupon makes a short 
explanation in Thibetan to his chief, who finishes by understanding 
that we are a distinct people from the English, and excuses him- 
self for his mistake in these words, " Never having seen any 
Frenchmen before, we could not, of course, recognise them. How- 
ever, allow me to withdraw now, so that I may consult with my 
chiefs ; to-morrow you shall have an answer." 

Such, in brief, was our first conversation, which had lasted 
several hours, through the necessity of having two interpreters. 
Besides, these men would not trust us, and laid traps for us, 
repeating questions that w r e had already answered, and returning 
suddenly to a point that seemed settled, so as to assure themselves 
that our story did not vary. The conversation was interspersed 
with cups of tea, drunk out of the most beautiful Chinese ware, 
while the Amban's cup was of green jade. Having caught cold 
on the journey here, they were continually coughing, and using 
their handkerchiefs, made of a cotton stuff {pouloii) sewn in the 
shape of the cover of a book, which they open and shut just as 
if it were an actual book, and place in their bosoms. They re- 
peatedly, too, took snuff, which is a white powder, sometimes 
carried in a flat bottle with a scoop attached to the cork. In 
other cases it is shaken out of a cylindrical metal box, which has a 


cover closing by means of a pin. Depositing the snuff on the 
thumb-nail, they sniff it up with great satisfaction, and then 
pass the box on to their neighbours. 

At last, however, the list of our little troop was completed, but 
the lama, who had ticked us off on his rosaiy, made us out 
to be eleven instead of twelve, because Parpa had been forgotten, 
with the result that the whole process of enumerating and reading 
out our names had to be gone through again, while he again ticked 
them off. All these operations were performed very leisurely and 
steadily, as befits men of high rank who have plenty of time to 
lose, so that this first conference lasted about five hours. 

The Amban will now write and tell his superiors what account 
we have given of ourselves, and they will then inform him what 
line of conduct he is to pursue. Meanwhile, he will supply us with 
provisions, for we do not want to use up the small supply we 
have. To do that w T ould place us entirely in their hands, and 
we are quite in the dark as to what the future has in store for 
us. We mean, therefore, to live on the sheep and meal with 
which they will supply us. 

February 20. — We employ the time we have to spend in 
the pass of Dam, by studying the Thibetans of high degree 
and the lamas. We begin with a festival, for this is their New 
Year's Day, and they keep up the feast for five days more. 
Early in the morning the interpreter came to invite us to the 
Amban's tent to celebrate the day with him. This fine old 
Mongol had put on a sort of red hood for the occasion, and 
had evidently been drinking ; for his eyes were more brilliant 
than they generally are, and, besides, he emits an odour of 
arrack, which at once proclaims the reason of his good-humour 
and beaming smile. "Come," said he, "come at once. It is the 
first day of the new year, and the Amban is impatient to see you. 
He has prepared a feast, too, for you, so come directly." 

We at once make our way down towards their camp, which lies 


below ours on the other side of the ice ; numerous black tents sur- 
rounding the white ones which the Amban and the chiefs occupy. 
There is a perpetual coming and going of servants, who are 
assisted by the savage inhabitants of the tableland, whose right 
arms, in spite of the severity of the weather, are outside their tunics, 
while half their body appears completely bare. It is they who 
gather the argol, search for ice, cut up the animals they kill, 
look after the saddle-horses, mules, and yaks, and keep the fire 
burning by means of a skin in which they very cleverly confine 
the air, which is then forced out through an iron tube plunged 
in the heap of argol. The tents form a pretty picture, 
reminding one of a bedecked fleet, as the garlands of prayers, 
running from top to top, wave in the breeze. The camp itself is 
all alive with men, while the mountain sides swarm with yaks, 
which have brought the provisions for the hundred or two 
hundred souls who are honouring us with their presence. In 
front of the Amban's tent is an open one which does duty as 
kitchen, and near it we perceive a man who looks as though he 
were making butter in a jar, but he is really mixing it in 
the tea. 

The Amban himself, who is awaiting us in front of his tent, 
sends some servants to help us over the ice, which they do by 
holding us up by the arms, for we are guests of no small conse- 
quence. We mount the bank, along the bottom of which great 
care is necessary in walking, and the Amban advances to meet us 
with a smile that stretches right across his smooth round face. 

At his request we precede him into his tent, which is a four- 
sided one with a square sloping roof. As the Amban is a layman, 
a servant with long hair, hanging in a plait, lifts the curtain as we 
enter. The Amban invites us to take our seats on a sort of dais 
to the right of the entrance, a second one, a little higher than 
ours, being reserved for him at the other end. He sits on it, 
cross-legged, on a tiger-skin, with cushions at his back, some of 



them covered with Chinese silk, and others, if I mistake not, with 
Indian muslin. 

We wish him a happy new year and good health, not for- 
getting to add, as is our way in Champagne, " and Paradise after- 
wards," a formula, which, to satisfy a believer in the transmigra- 


tion of souls, is rendered, " We wish you a still better place after 
death." He thanks us profusely, and expresses his pleasure that 
we should have met for their greatest fete, adding, " This is a 
good omen, for those who pass New Year's Day together become 
good friends." 

" We have no doubt on this point, for, as a matter of fact, we 
have no ill-feeling towards you. We look upon you as an 
honourable man, with whom we would gladly be good friends." 
And so on for about twenty minutes, as is the custom in the 
East — a custom which we may compare with the salute of two 
swordsmen before beginning the combat. 


Then we ask him when the reply of his superiors will come. 

" Very soon," he said. 

" We should take it as a great favour if you would let us 
know what you mean by this expression ' very soon,' for in some 
countries it means 'in an hour,' in others ' in a day' or 'in a 
year.' What does it mean with you ? " 

The Mongolian interpreter seemed more than ever under the 
influence of arrack, so loud was his laugh, and when the words 
were translated to him, the Amban laughed too. "It is quite 
true," he replied, " that there ought not to be any mis- 
understanding about the meaning of words, and I may tell you 
that ' very soon ' means in this case ' in about six days,' for our 
chiefs will doubtless want to consult the Chinese mandarin. He 
is not in Lhassa, but lives at two days' journey west of that 
town. I am very sorry for this delay, but it cannot be helped." 

Meanwhile the chief of the lamas who are here enters the tent, 
and takes his seat on the left-hand side of the Amban on the 
same daïs. Before them stands a small table bearing their tea- 
cups with silver lids, into which some young men are constantly 
pouring the mixture of tea and butter from earthenware teapots. 
One of them has evidently snatched the teapot out of the hands 
of a comrade who wishes to prevent him from coming into the tent, 
and is holding him back by the skirt of his robe. In order to 
free himself, he is kicking violently backwards, whilst lifting the 
curtain, with a beaming smile on his face. 

We remained a long time with the Amban drinking his 
tea and butter, which he was incessantly offering us, together 
with sweetmeats, consisting of pastry and queer-looking objects, 
which we all liked, though they were not particularly attractive to 
the eye. I must, however, mention some nuts preserved in sugar. 

The conversation flagged but little, turning all the time 
on our situation. We complained of our forced stay here, and 
of our not being allowed to enjoy a much- needed rest, and said we 


failed to understand this fashion of receiving 1 strangers. To this 
the Amban replied that he was merely obe}ûng orders, that no one 
wished us ill, that their customs were different from ours, and 
that in a very few da} T s, after the fete was over, everything would 
be arranged in accordance with our wishes. 

The first thing that strikes us in examining the tent is the 
quantity of sacred objects in every corner. Around the centre 
pole, which supports the roof, twines, like ivy, a cluster of little 
niches, like those in which the Orthodox place their sacred pictures. 
To the left of the Amban an altar has been reared upon some chests, 
on the top of which is an image of Buddha, enclosed in a gilded 
case ; in front is a line of seven little copper cups containing 
saffron and oil ; a light is glimmering, and perfumes are burning 
in a box, whilst odoriferous sticks, placed in teapots, are smoulder- 
ing awa}" ; on the two steps of the altar stand some little figures, 
cut in butter, amongst which I can distinguish a sheep's head 
without horns, having on the forehead protuberances of white 
sugar, some small columns of the same material, and, in saucers, 
pieces of confectionery offered as a sacrifice to the divinity. 

After having drunk a great many cups of tea, we express 
a wish to retire, whereupon the Amban, supported by the chief 
lama, reiterates once more what he had already repeated a score of 
times. " Let us try and arrange the business we have in hand," 
he urges, " don't let us disagree," and, so sa}ang, he presses 
together the inside of his thumbs, and, insisting on our friend- 
ship, makes use of this comparison : " Two beautiful porcelain 
cups placed together on a table look very well. But knock 
them together and they break to pieces. Don't let us clash, 
don't let us clash," he repeats, as he rises to show us the way 
out. As we go out everyone salutes us with a smile, and it is 
easy to see that their orders are not to give us needless offence. 
Just as we start, a flourish of trumpets is heard above us, and, 
lifting our eyes, we perceive huge garlands fluttering on the 


summit of the perpendicular granite rocks which overhang 
the left of the camp. These garlands consist of yaks' tails 
interspersed between pieces of coloured stuffs imprinted with 
prayers. Near them are seated some lamas holding trumpets, 
from which proceed excruciating sounds that rend the air and are 
re-echoed on the mountains. When they are not blowing these 
instruments, they are chanting prayers in a rhythmic cadence, 
forming a chorus in which deep bass voices support shrill trebles. 

Under pretext of taking a walk, we direct our steps towards 
a black tent which has quite recently been pitched in the roadway 
of the pass above our camp. We see squatted round a fire 
eight long-haired men under the command of a shorn lama. They 
are conversing quietly, and smoking a little pipe formed of an 
earthenware bowl and a bone stem, which they hand round to each 
other in turn. These are the poor wretches whose work it is to 
gather the argol, and who have no part in the New Year's 
celebrations. What we took for a tent in the distance is really 
only half a tent, a mere shelter of black sack-cloth, open on the 
side from which there is no wind. They sleep there on a heap of 
straw and chips ; in a corner stand their bows and lances, and in 
the middle three stones form a fireplace for use on windy days. 
Their simple dress is cut out of sheep-skins, frayed at the 
lower extremities, full of holes, and extraordinarily dirty. Their 
faces, blackened with grease and smoke, suggest the lowest type of 
savage that one can imagine. On looking at their narrow heads 
we ask ourselves what brains they can possibly contain, and are 
by no means astonished at the unusual authority which the lamas 
exercise over beings so wanting in intelligence, so little capable of 
any exercise of will, whose sensations cannot differ much from 
those of their yaks and dogs. Let us hope that all the Thibetans 
do not resemble this band of animals with human faces. 

We leave them to regale ourselves on a sheep's head that has 
been cooked under the argol on the fire, just as we roast potatoes 


in the ashes, and excellent it is. Travellers on the steppes 
often cook their meat in this way, because there is no flame or 
smoke to betray them. 

So draws to its close the first day of the Thibetan year; 
and as we wrap ourselves in our blankets the lamas recommence 
their prayers, and are still chanting as we fall asleep. 

February 21. — In continuation of the festival, the trumpets 
resound on the top of the cliffs, there is singing in the camp, 
and the garlands of prayers are waving in the west wind. The 
first event of the day is a visit from another interpreter, a 
Mongolian lama, a native of Ourga, a town lying in Chinese 
Mongolia, not far from the frontiers of Siberia. He is of 
moderate height, very alert, very vigorous, and a big liar, as he 
soon proves, when he explains that he comes from Lhassa, 
and that, having lost his way, he " chanced " to find himself at the 
spot where we had buried Imatch. He had probably been sent to 
make sure of Imatch's nationality, for we had returned him as a 
Kalmuck, and, if he has examined him at close quarters, he will 
certainly have taken him for such, for poor Imatch had the very 
small nose and the ugliness of that race. The new inter- 
preter examines our men, and declares them to be natives of 
North Turkestan. Then, without losing a moment, he proceeds 
to insinuate that he would be very thankful for the gift of a 

February 22. — To-day the Mongolian interpreter makes a 
confidant of poor silly Abdullah, telling him that if he (the 
interpreter) remains here it will only be because he has no money 
wherewith to return home. He makes out that he arrived here 
some time before with a caravan of pilgrims, that he then fell ill 
and was obliged to stop here, but that he is ever thinking of his 
home at Ourga ; throwing himself on our generosity to help him. 
Although we do not place too much faith in his story, it seems 
to us at least probable, for accidents of this sort must often 


happen in Thibet, just as they were formerly of not unfrequent 
occurrence in the Holy Land. In vain do we " pump " him for 
information with respect to ourselves ; he either knows nothing, 
or will say nothing. 

Mardi 1. — Since the 21st of February we have received visits 
from the smaller chiefs, who sometimes brought us little presents, 
and also accepted with pleasure gifts of sugar, and especially of 
raisins, of which they are very fond. They have passed a good 
deal of time in our men's tents, examining our arms, and listening 
gladly to the rather unmelodious notes of an accordion. Every 
now and then they would suddenly put a question to us, evi- 
dently trying to catch us contradicting ourselves, and then, with 
unheard-of patience, would sit waiting for an opportunity to beg, 
in the most natural manner possible, for an explanation which we 
had already given. All the time they observed us narrowly, 
though they were very polite, as is their way. We might find 
considerable amusement in watching the manner in which they 
transact their business, were it not that many of our men are ill ; 
some are suffering from sickness, others from diarrhoea, the latter, 
we think, being caused by the water we drink, which is drawn 
from under the ice, at the source of the river which flows down to 
Lake Namtso. The cold is certainly less keen, the minimum vary- 
ing between 4° and 9° below zero, but we suffer exceedingly 
from the north-west winds. All our camels, too, are dying one 
after the other, without any apparent malady ; they are simply 
used up. Their dead bodies attract numerous lammergeiers, some 
of which we bring down. One of them emits a strong odour of 
musk, and Parpa hastens to remove its fat. The lama from 
Ourga begs us to give him the bodies, so that he may cut out 
certain portions of them, the liver amongst others, in order to 
make medicines of them. But being a lama, he does this work 
by night, for fear of being seen by the savages, as it is, it seems 
unbecoming his rank for him to do such things. 


Laden yaks arrive almost daily, sometimes by night, from 
the south; so we conclude that more people are coming to Dam, 
which is the name of the spot where we are. On the 2Sth 
ult. the interpreters assured us that the answer would soon be 
here, and begged us not to lose patience. The same clay the 
Am ban, accompanied by the principal lamas, went on an excur- 
sion — scaling the heights which border the pass, so as to catch 
a glimpse of Lake Namtso, which he had never seen. This fact 
proves that the inhabitants of Lhassa do not often travel out of 
their own district, or that they do not care for exercise of this 
kind, however conducive to health it may be. At all events, the 
Namtso is supposed to be the largest piece of water in Thibet, and 
is regarded as sacred, under the name of " Heavenly Lake," and 
yet here are civil and religious personages who have never taken 
the trouble to come and see it. 

March 2. — Yesterday morning early the sky was overcast, and 
when the storm burst, the valley disappeared in the dust. All 
night it blew a gale, and several tents belonging to the Thibetans 
were carried away in a squall, but we were all right in ours, which 
is a fourfold one, for the Amban had given us a beautiful double 
tent, which we had thrown over ours, so that, besides the extra 
thickness, there is room between them in which to store various 
articles, and also for an entrance hall. The whole is strengthened 
by huge stones, with the result that it defies the wind. The 
minimum temperature last night was 10° below zero, and several 
of us complained on waking of headache — the usual effect of 
mountain storms, even if they occur when one is asleep. Towards 
midday a snow-cloud passed over us, and a strong north-west 
wind was blowing, a very different thing from the west wind 
which comes up across the Namtso, rushing through the pass. 
In the afternoon our long-toothed friend brought us a little milk, 
which we had been asking for to give our invalids, and at the 
same time he informed us that the great chiefs would soon be 


here. We had suspected this from the early morning, for 
numerous yaks, with loads, had arrived during the night, and we 
had seen men, with great difficulty, pitching a large tent, and 
had been amused to see a strong gust of wind carrying off the 
canvas. The perpetual coming and going of men, the general 
commotion, and the fact of the lesser chiefs superintending the 
work, had aroused our suspicions, which the indiscretion of the 
interpreter had only served to confirm. So, when he had left us, 
we took up our position at a suitable spot with our glasses, and 
fixed our eyes on the descent of the pass. 

First, pack-horses, well harnessed, having on their necks 
tinkling bells, or tufts of red (the colour denoting authority) come 
in sight ; then horsemen, well attired, who lose their w T ay amidst 
the bogs, not seeming to know the path made below the ridges, 
which is reached by a detour. Some long-haired savages shout 
to them, others hasten to meet them, take their bridles and help 
their beasts over the ice, while on their arrival in camp, the 
occupants of all the tents rush out and surround them. They, 
however, form but the van guard ; and the camp is now filled with 
excitement, and servants set out in the direction of the pass. 

It is not long before we catch sight of the great chiefs 
mounted on quick, surefooted horses, which drag along the men who 
are holding on to their bridles as if to lead them. We make 
out three important personages amongst the crowd. Covered with 
furs lined with yellow silk, they look so fat and enormous that 
we wonder they do not crush their agile little horses. On their 
heads the}^ wear the feathered hats of the Chinese mandarins, but 
over a hood which covers their neck and face, of which absolutely 
nothing is visible, for their eyes are protected by prominent 
glasses, which again, as an additional precaution, are overhung by 
a visor. Behind them, with a great noise of bells, trots a large 
escort in varied costumes. Though this spectacle presents a 
certain amount of pomp, it seems to us ridiculous. 


In the camp all the civil and religious chiefs stand in a row 
awaiting the mandarins, and when the latter arrive, the chiefs make 
a deep bow, remaining where they stood. The Amban alone 
approaches the visitors, and congratulates two of them with whom 
he shakes hands. Then, without dismounting, they go to their 
appointed tents, the crowd disperses, and everybody returns to 
his work. When we reflect that all these people are gathered 
here because of us, we realise that they are paying us a high 

Meanwhile, however, a little drama is being enacted in our 
camp. The Dungan's camel had been for two days uttering 
plaintive groans, and now to-day, just two months before her 
time of sixteen months has expired, she gives birth to a dead 
calf. The poor mother licks and smells it, hanging over it and 
crying plaintively. Timour is very sorry at its death, for, he 
said, " The little thing had humps enough to become a perfect 

Then the interpreters come up, and ask us to grant an audience 
to the great men who had just arrived. We reply that we shall 
be very happy to receive them at once. When our answer has 
been transmitted, quite a large band makes its way to our tent, 
preceded by two individuals who are sumptuously attired in the 
Chinese style. These two approach arm in arm, and one of them, 
small, short, round, and bent in the back, leans heavily on his 
companion's arm. With a venerable air these two approach 
slowly, stopping to take breath every fifteen steps. Perhaps this 
mode of progression is meant to be in good form, to impress us, and 
give us plenty of time to go politely and meet them. But we are 
rude enough to remain in our tent, and only go out of it when 
they have got on to our ground. We then exchange salutations 
with the two chiefs, who are introduced to us as the Ta-Lama 
and the Ta- Am ban, after which some porters deposit at our feet 
five sacks — one of rice, one of zamba, one of meal, one of Chinese 




peas, and one of butter. Then we invite the two ambassadors 
to enter our tent, where skins are spread ready for them. The 
simplicity of our furniture is evidently a surprise to them, for 
they appear to hesitate, and make difficulties before entering. 
When once they have entered, they ask permission to sit on their 
own little rugs, and their servants lay down for one of them a 
wild cat's skin, and for the other a small mattress lined with silk. 
They apologise for these precautions on the score of their age and 

The three who had been the first to enter into negotiations 
with us take their seats near them, in front of us, and the con- 
versation commences. At first it consists only of small civilities. 

" How are you ? " said the Ta-Lama. 

" Not at all well, for this is a wretched place." 

This answer rather disconcerts them ; they had evidently 
expected greater amiability from us, and our old acquaintance, the 
Amban, hangs his head, for he had represented us as well- 
mannered people. We ask them, in our turn, whether they have 
had a pleasant journey. 

" Yes, although the road is a bad one. We had to travel by 
easy stages on account of our age. The festival of the New 
Year, too, has delayed us ; otherwise you would have seen us 
much sooner. This festival we are obliged to keep in compliance 
with our religion." 

Then come questions about ourselves, and the object of our 
travels, to which we make the same reply as we have already 
made at least twenty times to their subordinate, the Amban, 
while they repeat his proposals. 

"You will now retrace your steps." 

"No, that is impossible." 

" If you will, we will supply you with all that you w T ant. 
This is the best course for you to pursue, and we shall part good 
friends. Think over my suggestion, which I advise you to 


accept ; I venture to hope that we shall not fall out, for we have 
come without any soldiers, though we might have brought some 
from Lhassa. That proves our good intentions." 

" It is quite useless to propose that we should return, and 
to advise us to reflect, for we do not speak without having 
already reflected. We have come from the West, urged on by 
fate, by a force which has carried us across deserts by a road 
which you yourselves do not know. Our aim is to go to Batang 
and then to Tonquin, there to rejoin our fellow-countrymen, who 
are living on land which we have taken from the Emperor of 
China. You are powerless against our resolution, and you may 
rely upon it that we will not take one single step northwards. 
You do not frighten us in the least, for we have come from 
the end of the world without being stopped, and we shall now 
pursue our way onwards, and you will help us. It is for you 
rather than for us to reflect, and you will see that Buddha him- 
self wills it thus. We would rather die than return. That is 
our last word." 

As the sun is now setting they rise to leave us, evidently 
put out at our having so expressed ourselves before their escort. 
They bid us farewell, and before they have gone very far, wishing 
to have the last word, the Ta-Lama repeats " Reflect, reflect." 

To which I reply in French, very disrespectfully, " All right, 
old fellow." (Oui, mon vieux ! ) 

" What does he say ? " 

" He is merely saying ' Good night ' in his own language," 
replies Abdullah. 

The two great chiefs then departed, while we remained to 
fight the question out with the Amban and the two others with 
whom we had previously been dealing. The Amban who, as we 
begin to believe, has taken a fancy to us, was very vexed. 

" Whatever made you speak like that to my chiefs ? Re- 
member that they are the two first men at Lhassa, and have as 


much power as the Ministers. Do be more amiable to-morrow. 
Tell me what you want, and I will talk to them accordingly. 
Only do not change your minds meanwhile, for if yon contradict 
me, they will accuse me of having sold myself to you, and of 
having espoused your interests, and even tried to get for you 
more than you ask for." 

" Our wish is to go to Batang. You will furnish us with 
the means of transport and provisions, and we will pay for them. 
That is what we want to-day, and what we shall not cease to 
want until we obtain it." 

"I will mention it to my chiefs, but can insist on nothing, 
for if I did they would only distrust me, and lay an informa- 
tion against me, with the result that I should be cruelly 

With these words they leave, and we go to warm our- 
selves at the fire, and confide to one another the impressions 
which the two ambassadors have made on us. They are so 
unlike that they seem as though they had been created to 
present a striking antithesis. The Ta-Lama is thin and nervous, 
with the small dark eyes of a European, very bright and very 
straight ; his nose is pointed, and a prominent chin is made to 
appear still longer, owing to a plaited tuft of hair that is twisted 
in the shape of a rat's tail. His face has a wary look, and a 
smile which might be either benevolent or ironical, but seems 
rather Mephistophelian. When he smiles he shows his white 
teeth, and he speaks at a rapid rate and in a monotonous 
voice, as though he were repeating a litan} 7 . His indifferent 
attitude shows that he attaches no importance whatever to his 
own words ; but his eyes are for ever busy in examining us. 
He affects utter unconcern, but ail the time betrays his pre- 
occupation of mind by the way in which, with dry, thin hands, 
and long nails, like a falcon's claws, he tells his beads. 

The Ta-Amban, on the contrary, is a fat man, with a broad, 


long face, and enormous head, while the general appearance of his 
body, which looks like a big jar, might be indicated by four ovals, 
the smallest of which would stand for his head, the largest for 
his body, and the two others for his legs. His arms are short, 
and look more like fins, his hands are plump with small fingers, 
his chin is round and double, his cheeks are pendulous, and his 
e} r es are contracted and shapeless. You would think him good- 
natured were it not for his susjucious look. He speaks with 
animation in a full round voice, smiting his knee with his hand, 
and evidently has Chinese blood in his veins. 

Concerning the Ta-Lama, we all agree that he is clever, 
cunning, and intelligent ; as to the Ta-Amban, he seems less 
intelligent, but more stubborn. 

We sit up till late, talking in the moonlight, and can hear 
Abdullah and the Dungan reciting their prayers within the 
hitter's tent, a sign that the outlook seems dark to them, for 
it is only when things appear bad that they address themselves 
to Heaven. The sleep of the rest of our band, too, has been 
somewhat curtailed by the events of the day. Something- 
new has happened, and that is enough to excite them and 
keep them awake. 

Iça, Rachmed, Parpa, and Timour are seated cross-legged in 
the entrance of their tent, near their fire, which flickers like a 
will-o'-the-wisp, and the moon is shedding her pale light on 
the mountain, making it look smaller and flatter, and the vault 
of heaven all the deeper. Timour is gazing quietly and 
thoughtfully up to the sky. 

"What are you looking at, Timour? Is it the moon ? " I 

" No, the Bear." 

" What are you watching it for ? " 

" I am glad to see it there, for there will be plenty of grass 
for the herds, when the Bear is low in the sky after sunset." 


Bachmed, who is out of sorts and in a bad humour, inter- 
rupts — 

" Show me the Bear." 

" There it is," said Timour, stretching his hand in the 
direction of sparkling Orion. 

" That is not the Bear," says Bachmed, " that is the Balance. 
You don't know what you are talking about. You had better 
keep your mouth shut than talk such nonsense. How can the 
Balance have any effect upon the grass ? If it is a rainy season, 
or if we have had a great deal of snow in wûnter, then there is 
plenty of grass, but the stars have nothing to do with it. You 
talk for the pleasure of talking. You are a real latter-day 
Mussulman, a regular donkey," etc. He then rails at Islam in 
general, reproaching it with being stupid and irrational, and, his 
wrath increasing with his words, exclaims, " You donkey ! you 
donkey ! " 

And poor Timour, abashed by this eloquence, can only repeat 
plaintively and suppliantly — " Bachmed aga! Bachmed aga!" 
(" Bachmed, my elder brother, my elder brother "). 

Bachmed ceases his reproaches, but on hearing the Dungan's 
and Abdullah's prayers his wrath bursts out again. " Listen, 
too, to those donkeys, who have faith only when they are afraid. 
Ah ! there are no more real Mussulmans, none." 

Then the wind rises, and so draws upon itself the maledictions 
which were going to fall once more on poor Timour, who was still 
appealing to Bachmed as "my elder brother, my elder brother," 
which is a Turk's most affectionate term. Timour is very fond 
of Bachmed, who likes him in return. 

Such little scenes as this are our only distraction. 

March 3. — We confer with the two great chiefs, and, after 
many quarrels and reconciliations, at last convince them that 
we are neither English nor Bussian, but French, and to our great 
joy extract from them permission to move on. 


Mardi 7. — This morning the sun is shining brightly, and the 
snow that fell on the preceding days stands out resplendent 
and dazzling on the mountain. It is grand weather for our 
departure, though it is not a final move, for we are only going 
to instal ourselves in a better place, there to wait again. 

The camp is all astir : on all sides are men running after 
their beasts, collecting them, driving them on with shrill 
whistles, and swinging their slings. As the long plaits of hair 
would be in the way when the Thibetans stoop, they twist them 
round their heads. 

They have great difficulty in catching their beasts, especiall} r 
to-day, when the yaks are frightened by our camels. It is onl} r 
after more than one fruitless attempt that they will allow them- 
selves to be caught by the horn, to which is tied the cord that 
is attached to the ring in the muffle. Their masters have 
to approach them very carefully, and can only seize them by 
surprise. Loading them is a still more difficult business ; 
and it takes a tremendous time to fasten our chests on to their 
backs. But the patience of these men is endless, and they 
always finish by mastering the animal ; for as soon as they have 
got hold of it, they hopple it and load it, in spite of heels and 
horns, but never beat it. 

These Thibetans are very quick over their work. Each time 
they raise a heavy load they force out the air from their lungs 
by a vigorous hiss. They handle great weights with considerable 
ease, for their arms, though not very muscular, are tough, and set 
in solid shoulders, which are supported by deep necks, and the 
length of the forearm is remarkable. Lamas, stick in hand, give 
their orders, and reprimand them ; but these savages do their work 
cheerfully, and are very obedient and respectful to the lamas, to 
whom they listen in the most humble posture, with backs bent 
and hanging tongue. 

We have had some small Thibetan horses given us which are 

m ., ' 



A CAB AY AN. 67 

full of go, and which feed on raw flesh, as we have seen with 
our own eyes. These carnivorous beasts have marvellous legs, 
and are as clever as acrobats ; they balance themselves with the 
greatest care on the ice or amid dirty bogs, and then, gaining 
the path with a bound, carry us along at a rapid trot, to which 
we have long been unaccustomed. Anyone would imagine that 
they find us to be as light as feathers, and we certainly look far 
more like lean hermits than fat monks. 

We soon rejoined a caravan that started before we did. The 
loaded yaks go along in utter disorder, their drivers letting them 
stop at will to eat a root, to sniff pieces of argol, perhaps to 
reflect. In three and a half hours we rode nearly fourteen miles, 
up hill and down dale, but more often the latter, for we were 
to encamp near a frozen river which empties its waters into 
the Namtso. 

Our old friend the Amban welcomed us to his tent, where a 
delicious repast awaited us, consisting of a yak's tongue smoked, 
and, hy way of vegetables, preserved salted carrots, and red and 
green pepper; then some cakes of unleavened bread, and as much 
tea and butter as we could drink. Our excellent host admired 
our appetite, and kept urging us to satisfy it to the full. 

Between our camp and that of the chiefs from Lhassa are 
pitched the tents of some nomads who are driving their herds 
this way. They are, it seems, inscribed among the subjects of 
China, and pay taxes as such, " but in all other respects," says 
the Amban, " they obey us ; their tribe is that of the Djashas. 
In summer they disperse over the tableland of the north." 

When w T e passed by their tents, they came out to salute us, 
and we recognised their chief, a big toothless fellow, whom we had 
come across before reaching theNamtso. He strikes us as a half- 
bred Chinaman. To-day he wears a sort of uniform, consisting 
of a jacket with a red collar and adorned with copper buttons 
bearing the numbers of English regiments in India. These 


buttons are of no earthly use to him, for they have no 
corresponding buttonholes, but they are the sign of wealth, 
the proof of a high position, just because they are not 
actually wanted. The superfluous is reserved for the powerful 
of the earth. 

The Amban begged us to remain in his tent until ours was 
ready ; but when we told him that we should like a walk because 
we were cold, lie led us back to our camp, saying, " Our customs 
forbid me to leave my guests before a shelter is ready for them. 
I will therefore accompany you." We took advantage of this 
custom to ask him one or two questions— first, the name of the 
splendid chain from which rise Hue and Gabet, each this evening 
having its summit in a turban of clouds, reminding one of 
Persia and the well-known turban of the Demavend. This 
chain, he tells us, is called Samda Kansain ; and the river, which 
flows close b} r , Samda Teh ou, borrowing its name from the moun- 
tain which feeds it. 

Then we talked to him about the serou (unicorn), of whose 
existence Father Hue had been assured, and he told us that this 
animal lives in the Ghoorkas' country, in India, and that it has 
one horn, not on the top of the head, but on the nose, so that he 
was evidently describing the rhinoceros. 

Before sunset we perceived at an enormous height a large flock 
of birds, which we took to be geese, making north. Very welcome 
was the sight of them, for they seemed to be harbingers of the 
spring. Timour, too, was persuaded that the warm weather was 
really coming, for he had seen a fresh blade of grass ; and, to 
prove his words, he got up, examined the bottom of the mountain, 
and soon returned with a blade, which he held solemnly in his 
hand, and contemplated with glad eyes — for Timour is a poet, 
a true lover of Nature. Then to bed, to dream of home, for the 
gentle west wind produces on this bare plain the same murmurs, 
the same plaintive sounds, as in our native woods. 


March 8. — The west wind is still blowing, and snow falls at 
intervals. The snn appears and disappears. Then the wind 
increases, the heavens are darkened, and the cold, after the 
warmth of the afternoon, is simply insupportable. In spite of 
the weather, however, the Amban pays us a visit, and again 
exhorts us to be patient, for it will take time to get ready at Lhassa 
all the things which we require. Before quitting Dam they had 
drawn up, at our dictation, a long list of our requirements — clothes 
of all sorts, shoes, hats, skin, large and small cymbals, and even 
prayers and objects of worship. The} 7 had promised, too, to pro- 
cure some horses, and to send them on here quickly. But the 
Amban is afraid that we may lose patience, for he cannot help 
noticing the hurry we are all in to start, not a single one of as 
having the least wish to stop here. The Amban insists on the 
purhvv of his intentions. "We look upon you as brothers, and 
our wish is to be as agreeable as possible to you ; and if we keep 
you here, it is only because we must await letters from our superiors 
at Lhassa, who are satisfied of your honesty. But then our ways 
are not like yours. We never hurry in business matters. There 
is a council which decides all important matters, and you know 
that the members of a numerous council do not immediately agree. 
If it depended only on me, you should at once have all that you 
want ; but you see that, even here, we are three great chiefs and 
about twenty smaller ones. The one mistrusts the other, and it 
needs great prudence not to lay oneself open to accusation." 
This fear of an accusation — which the Amban has mentioned on 
previous occasions — proves that Lhassa is a hotbed of intrigue, 
power being divided and much sought after, and that those who 
possess it guard it very jealously. 

Our guest next asks for information regarding our customs 
and manners, the position of women in our country and their 
looks ; and then he speaks of the books of the English, and of 
the astonishing inventions which they have brought to India, 


though he himself had never seen them. He expresses his 
astonishment that we should take the trouble to travel, "for," 
said he, " what is the good of visiting distant lands when you 
can spend your life in reading about them without leaving home ? 
I, at all events, have not the slightest wish ever to travel outside 
Thibet, for my curiosity is quite satisfied by our religious books." 




Breakfasting with the Ta-Amban and Ta-Lama — Diplomatic Indignation — Two Barbarian 
Petty Chiefs — An Effectual Call to Order — A Sunset Scene—Feasting on a Sheep's Head 
—A "Dainty Dish "—At Soubrou — Resting at Di-Ti — Water-Carriers— An Entente 
Cordiale — Characteristics and Habits of the Natives of the Di-Ti Country— A Specimen 
of Primeval Man — Nigan : Another Stoppage — The Talai-Lama's Presents : Sacred 
Objects— Return Presents— A Lama-Guide — The Ta-Amban's Advice — A Pet Ram — 
Timour, Parpa, and Iça Go Back. 

March 14. — We are invited to 
meet the Ta-Araban and the Amban 
at breakfast in the tent of the Ta- 
Lama, who has a most sumptuous 
repast ready for us. It lasts four 
hours, during which time we plunge 
our chopsticks into some thirty very 
rich dishes that must have cost a 
great deal, for it is by no means easy 
in Thibet to procure young palm- 
shoots, dates from India, peaches 
from Leh (Lada), jujubes from 
Batang, berries from Landjou, edible seaweed and shell-fish 
from the coast, etc. etc. Out of all these different produc- 
tions of the Asiatic cuisine a few are decidedly eatable, and 
we confine ourselves to them ; but what we prefer to everything 
else is the plentiful supply of hot milk, in which we dip our 
dates so as to thaw them. Their idea, perhaps, was to win us 
over by such a splendid feast, but we remain as firm as ever when, 
after the tables have been removed and negotiations reopened, 
they beg us to wait yet a little longer. Our indignation bursts out 
anew, and we rise at once without listening to any more circum- 
locution. They are astonished at our departure ; but when they 
see us thrashing our interpreter, who has been making signs to 



them behind our backs, they understand that our patience is 
exhausted. The result of this interrupted feast is the extraction 
of a promise that we shall make our way forward. 

March 16. — "We discuss the route that we shall follow. The 
chiefs undertake to show us the road to Batang; only the 
stages are to be short, in order that the couriers expected from 
Lhassa may join us the sooner. Amidst falling snow, after a 
minimum temperature of 13° below zero, we begin our prepara- 
tions for departure. 

The place where we are to await the couriers is called Di-Ti, 
which the Amban represents as a sort of Paradise in comparison 
with our present location, which is rendered uninhabitable by the 
incessant west wind. It seems that " down there " w T e shall find 
grass, brushwood, juniper-trees, corn and moderate heat ; for we 
shall be. on much lower ground ; here we are at an altitude 
of 10,170 feet. We beg the Amban to be good enough to tell 
us where Di-Ti is ; but he answers that he does not know exactly, 
and sends for two petty barbarian chieftains, whom he questions 
in our presence. They enter, bent double, out of deference to 
their superior, and with tongues hanging out of their mouths, like 
greyhounds in summer after chasing a hare. 

"Do you know Di-Ti?" 

"Yes, we are driving our herds there." 

" Is it a nice place ? " 


" In what direction is it ? " 

" In that." (They point north-east.) 

"Is it far?" 


" How many lave re off is it ? " {Lavere corresponds in Thibet 
to li in China, being about a quarter of a mile.) 

Lavere, lavere, lavere, murmur the two savages, looking at 
each other, and scratching their ears ; " we do not know their 


country," taking it for the name of a camp — a mistake that is, 
after all, intelligible on the part of savages, who have no need of 
precision, though we laugh at it none the less. The Amhan 
therefore dismisses them, and they withdraw with deep reverences, 
thumbs raised, and tongues still hanging out. 

The lamas then set about obtaining from the Djashas yaks 
and horses enough for the whole caravan. So many are required 
that the Djashas — or Djashougs, Tatshougs, Ttashougs, for we 
hear the name pronounced in all these different ways— refuse to 
supply us, and, getting angry, shout and threaten. Then the 
Ta-Lama summons their chiefs, who immediately on receiving 
the order appear, calm but crestfallen. The Ta-Lama bids his 
servants throw open the front of his tent, and from his daïs — - 
where he remains sitting cross-legged, his hands in his sleeves — 
talks quietly to them. He has scarcely opened his mouth when 
the savages bend, and, in the posture of a schoolboy awaiting a 
swishing, lower their heads, scarcely daring to raise their eyes, and 
cry humbly — 

" Lalesse, lalesse ! " (We are ready.) 

And when the Ta-Lama, in conclusion, says to them, still in 
his quiet tones — 

"Is it possible that 3^011 would displease the Djongoro Boutchi" 
(the living Buddha) "and the Ta-Lama" (Great Lama)? — 

" No," they reply, groaning and falling on their knees. 

"Very well; then obey." 

" Lalesse, lalesse ! It is all right." 

A servant thereupon bids them retire, which they do back- 
wards, in the respectful attitude of the country. The tent is 
again closed, and the chiefs draw themselves up, and quite good- 
humouredly return to their own tents. 

Convinced that we are now really about to start, I spend a 
few moments in admiring the scene, and am straightway lost in 
ecstasy before a scene which Messrs. Cook can promise to their 


clients when, in years to come, they have organised trips to 
Thibet. To describe it, however, would take another pen than 
mine. I can but gaze thoughtfully, as do the shepherds on the 
tablelands, at the splendid chain of the Ningling Tangla, as its 
snow-capped peaks are lost in the gold of the sunset. The light 
vaporous atmosphere is, so to speak, saturated with this golden 
light; while behind us the Samda-Kansain lies bathed in violet 
tints, and above it are clustered thick snow-clouds, through 
which, rent by the wind, are seen here and there patches of blue 

Mardi 18. — We start in a north-easterly direction. The 
weather is splendid, but the reflection of the sun on the snow 
literally scorches our faces and eyes. We learn on the road that 
between here and Tatsien-lou there are eighty more or less 
difficult passes. It is the interpreter with the long tooth who 
tells me that he once counted them when going to Lhassa by this 
route ; he also informs us that there are very few spots in Thibet 
where it is possible to grow a little wheat, though they have 
good crops of barley. The other cereals, including rice, are 
imported from India. At night we encamp in a valley at 
Tashé-Roua, which means, in the language of the steppes, the 
" Gathering of Tents at Tashé," though we had seen only three 
or four tents on the whole stage, in the mouths of gorges, near 
the ice. 

Besides lending us some yak-drivers, our friends have also 
provided us with two men whose business it is to collect fuel for 
our fires. This evening they arrive with their gleanings in a 
sack, which they empty at the entrance of our servants' tent; and, 
after being greeted with reproaches — uttered, however, in a very 
amiable tone of voice, and in Turkish — they venture to sit down 
by the fire, and our men make them a present of the head of a 
sheep, which they have just killed, in the Mussulman style, by 
severing the carotid arteries. They accept it with effusion when 


Timour hands it to them, though they had turned their eyes 
away during the bloody sacrifice of a living creature. The 
observant Timour is astonished at their conduct, and remarks, 
" Just now, when lea took his knife, they rushed upon him, and, 
holding his arm, begged him to let them kill the animal by 
strangling it with a cord round its nose. How could men eat a 
beast that has not been bled to death? When Iça killed it, 
they set to praying, and now they will gladly eat it. What 
strange people they are ! " 

The two men, being very hungry after their walk, hastily 
prepare their meal. They put a little water on the fire in some 
small earthenware pots, and when it is tepid, fill a wooden cup. 
They then take some meal out of long bags, sprinkle it with 
water, stir it round with their thumbs, and drink it ; licking 
up the meal which sticks to the sides of the cup with their 
enormous tongues, which serve alike to show respect and admira- 
tion, and as spoons. Whilst they are drinking this " soup " 
to allay the pangs of hunger, the water begins to boil. They 
now pour it into their cups, put in some butter, likewise taken 
from a bag, and add a pinch of salt and a handful of meal. This 
mixture they then make into balls, which they go on eating until 
they have had enough ; afterwards they take a little walk. When 
they return they proceed to occupy themselves with the sheep's 
head. From a leathern sheath each draws a small knife with 
pointed blade, such as even the women all wear at their waists, 
and cut the already frozen head to pieces. Then they draw 
near the fire and thaw it, burning off the wool in the flames. 
The skin being removed, they cut out and eat the gums ; then, 
in order to get at the tongue, they draw a long sabre, with 
which they split the jaw open at the joints, removing both the 
tongue and the gullet, which they put in their wallets. One 
takes the lower jaw, and gets what he can off it, just like a dog 
would, while the other cleans the skull. The first gouges out the 


e} r es, which he swallows with great relish ; then when they have got 
off everything in the way of meat, and have satisfied their hunger, 
they throw the lower part of the head to the dogs, who certainly 
will not get much off it, and put aside for to-morrow the skull, 
which still contains the brains. The culinary art is decidedly in 


its infancy in Thibet, and we shall still, for a long time, be the 
only persons who have ever partaken of cabbage-soup there. More- 
over, even the highest personages do not seem to have developed a 
delicate palate; the Amban himself, when in a hurry, eating 
balls of zamba. This afternoon, too, we happened to see at dinner 
the two interpreters — one of whom is, it seems, a lama endowed 
with a rich "stall." They had been served with a cup contain- 
ing, at the bottom, a morsel of rancid butter and some meal. 
These they kneaded together, then adding some slices of frozen 
cheese, which was also worked in, they next minced into it a 
si ice of frozen mutton, and then, to complete the dainty dish, they 
moistened it with tea and butter, finally making the whole mixture 


into balls, some of which they offered to us, as they saw that we 
were watching their preparations with great curiosity. 

This powdered mixture is, with the addition of a little salt, 
eatable, and must be satisfying ; while the making of it is an 
amusing pastime when one has nothing else to do, as was 
evidently the case with our lamas. 

Mardi 19. — We advance as far as Soubrou, to reach which we 
have to make numerous detours. The weather is abominable, for 
it is snowing, and the wind is blowing from the west with extreme 
violence. Here we find some twenty tents in a grassy valley, 
which is reached by a steep pass. 

March 21. — After crossing a tableland we reach Di-Ti, where 
we drop down into an amphitheatre, formed by gently undulating 
hills. In the direction of Lhassa there are some heights white 
with snow, but we see very little to the east and north. 

Di-Ti is on the main road from Naptchou to Lhassa, that of 
the Tsaïdam and of the Koukou Nor rising southward. We 
remain three days at Di-Ti, which is inhabited by a considerable 
number of nomads, who own large flocks of yaks and sheep 
that are swarming in every direction. They seem also to occupy 
themselves with the breeding of horses, some forty of which 
come to drink in the spring near our tent. They are larger 
than any we have come across so far, and have good legs and 
feet. No one is looking after them. Some distance away 
from our little fountain there is another, to which the people 
of the encampment go to draw their water, which they carry 
away in wooden jars. Attached to their loins they have a small 
cushion, and on this they place the jar with loose straps, which 
pass over their shoulders. The difficulty is to keep the jar 
so well balanced that no water is spilt on the way. To do 
this they walk with a forward stoop, the body forming nearly 
a right angle with the legs. A Thibetan couple came in 
quest of water while I was there. The wife filled the jar by 


means of a wooden cup, whilst the husband chatted with an 
acquaintance; she then helped him to fix the jar, which done, he 
went off, leaving his "better half" to get hers up as best she 
could. This she did by kneeling down and then carefully rising, 
like a beast of burden, as she really was. 

March 24. — The maximum temperature in the sun reaches 
89°. But the w r est wind still troubles us at times, though, it 
is true, it also provides us with something to talk about, as 
it drives before it on the plain clouds of dust, which assume 
very singular shapes. At one time you might fancy that 
an immense dragon with bent back was advancing, at another 
that a scorpion w r as crawling along with head and tongue raised, 
or again you might think you were looking at rows of trees with 
bushy foliage and leafy arches. All this time, however, we 
never forget the object we have in view, which is to reach 
Batang ; and at last, after a warlike display, we extract a promise 
that we shall be directed thither. But the stages must be short, 
for the couriers from Lhassa have not yet arrived; and so the 
Ta-Lama and the Ta-Amban, who have decided not to keej} us 
waiting here any longer, send a special courier to Lhassa to 
hasten the despatch of the various articles we require, and of the 
other horses and presents from the authorities. Then we start. 
Every risk of a misunderstanding has now disappeared. Thibetans 
and Frenchmen are in thorough accord, and they, as well as 
we, are of opinion that the authorities at Lhassa are abusing 
our patience, and that bureaucracy has its disadvantages, though 
it may sometimes have its advantages. 

Before I proceed with the account of our journey I would say 
a word or two about the inhabitants of this country, who are 
well-to-do and prosperous, especially when compared with the first 
shepherds whom we met. More favourable conditions have the 
same effect on the men as on the yaks and horses ; all of them are 
more vigorous here, and they are even slightly taller. The types, 


as I have said before, are very varied. Some bave a long nose 
and a broad face, others a snub nose and a long face ; others, again, 
a long nose and a long face. They have, however, some points in 
common. Their chins are often prominent because they are fre- 
quently toothless, and their lips are very thick because the cold 
makes them swell, and because they continually use them, their 
shortness of breath making them wheeze. Again, when they 
stop they stand erect, very straight on their legs, which are a 
little apart ; their gait is jerky, their glance shifting and rapid, 
though sometimes fixed ; their gestures are abrupt ; and they walk 
with short irregular steps, as though their thoughts were inter- 
mittent, and their brains suggested actions by fits and starts in 
intervals of wakefulness. In fact, all their gestures suggest a 
lack of mental cohesion and a poverty of ideas. 

They are careless and cheerful in disposition, and after a long 
day's march they go to look for the yaks, singing and laughing, 
some bringing in the droppings for fuel, while others carry 
sheets of ice in the skirts of their cloaks. They tie up their 
yaks in a half-circle, chattering all the time ; at night pre- 
pare the cords for the morning, and, having eaten their zaniba, 
put their wallets round the fire ; and then, loosening the 
girdle of their cloaks, throw themselves down on the ground 
side by side, the one who is most exposed to the wind protecting 
himself with a coarse mantle. Lying there, huddled together 
like sheep, they exchange a few words, and then fall asleep under 
the stars, with the temperature below zero. 

March 27. — As we advance we find the country more thickly 
populated, and it seems as though the desert is coming to an end. 

March 28. — This is a day never to be forgotten. The road 
we are following is that of Sininfou ; it is dotted with numerous 
trees, under which are massed together numberless prayers en- 
graved on slabs of schist, with attempts at ornamentation — 
roses, for example, each petal of which contains a syllable of the 


" Om marié padmé houm," images of Buddha, of Tsong Kaba the 
reformer, and of the Talai-Lama, sketched in outline on plates, 
or moulded in clay — each of these holy personages having his 
head enveloped in a hood and surrounded with a halo. The road 
winds across the broad plains, interspersed with valle}^ and 
ravines, and topped towards the south-west by white ridges which 
intercept the horizon. We are at a height of barely 16,000 feet, 
and it is less painful to breathe. The wind has fallen, and before 
us slowly gather large white clouds, above which, the sky is a 
spotless blue, while below larks are singing, and small rats are 
running about on the ground. 

It is hot, really hot, and the warm breeze, as it caresses our 
cheeks, produces quite a novel sensation, for we had lost all re- 
collection of so pleasant a feeling. We advance in the best of 
spirits, urged on by our horses, which keep their noses in our 
backs. Then we mount them, and for the first time since last 
autumn our feet are really warm in the stirrup, even " on the 
shady side," although it does not thaw there as yet. 

The Amban, followed b}^ his escort, joins us and salutes us 
— with a very good pronunciation — in the few French words that 
we have taught him. 

" Bonjour," he says; " comment vous portez-vous? " 

" Very well," we answer. 

" Bien, bien," he repeats with a smile. 

He raises his whip, and his horse starts off at a trot, for he 
is anxious to arrive first, so as to prepare the encampment. 

But here is a Thibetan horseman, who arrives at a gallop, 
with his rifle slung over his shoulders, and a little red flag floating 
from the sight. From his girdle hangs a sabre with glittering 
incrustations; his right arm is freed from his cloak, and his 
shoulder is bare, and he excites his horse by swinging his sling. 
He is a good specimen of a wild horseman, and the picture is 
heightened by his fox-skin cap, with long ear-flaps hanging 


NIGAN. 83 

down, from under whicli appear a few loose hairs and a long plait, 
which continually strikes against his shoulders. 

Next comes a lama, wearing a hood and closely wrapped up, 
accompanying some yaks that are loaded with precious objects. 
He joins our party, reciting his prayers aloud, and salutes us with 
an amiable smile, though without interrupting a single word of 
his litany. Then we pass three men on foot who are urging on 
their yaks, whistling and waving their right arms about. The body 
of one is quite bare, and displays a rounded chest ; he is stout and 
broad-shouldered. With his muscular right arm he balances a 
long javelin with a bamboo handle, attached to his wrist by a 
copper bracelet. To show his skill he throws it in the air and 
catches it again, then shifts it from one hand to the other and 
round his body, brandishing it as though about to strike, with all 
the grace of a skilled matador. He is }^oung, and walks with 
a supple swing ; his jaws and square chin are prominent, and his 
upper lip is arched with the insolent curl of an animal that knows its 
own strength. His nose is short, with broad nostrils ; his bushy 
Lair hangs down, like a mane, covering his small eyes and fore- 
shortening his face, causing his head, with its thick neck, to look 
still broader and less human. You would think you had before 
you a specimen of early man just emerging from the Stone Age, 
and proud in the possession of his first iron weapon. 

But it is time to return to the Amban's tent to partake of 
tea and butter, boiled mutton, smoked tongues, and even Indian 
curry — for they quite spoil us. Everyone is most polite — so 
much so, in fact, that we no longer dare even look at them, 
for fear of seeing those monstrous tongues hanging out. 

We have reached Nigan, at a height of 15,900 feet, and it is 
here that we shall have to wait for the last time before setting 
out for Batang, whence we shall be conveyed by the aid of the 
Talai-Lama; for the oracles have been favourable to us. 

We employ this last stoppage in doing up our baggage again, 


looking over and arranging; the skins which we have dressed 
on the road. We get rid of everything that is not absolutely 
necessary, and organise the caravan of those who will leave us to 
return to the Lob Nor. The Ta-Lama undertakes to put them in 
charge of some pilgrims who are returning to Mongolia by the 
Tsa'idam, and once there they will continue their journey alone 
by the Kalmucks' road. We now feel quite close to Tonquin, for, 
though thousands of miles lie between it and us, at Batang we 
shall again tread known ground. Then doubt, which is the 
defect — or perhaps it should rather be said, the good point — of 
old travellers, reappears. The horizon darkens, and in the far 
distance obstacles arise. However, things are turning out re- 
markably well. 

March 31. — -After a calm night and a minimum of 4 Q 
below zero, a hurricane bursts over us, and a fearful squall carries 
off the square tents of the Thibetans. Ours resist the force of 
the storm, and are merely invaded by clouds of dust. 

April 2, — At last the Amban comes beaming to tell us that 
the Talai-Lama's presents have arrived, as well as all the things 
which we asked for, and to invite us to come to his tent, where 
the Ta-Lama and the Ta- Amban await us. We are very well 
received by these great chiefs, and have a long talk with them. 
Then the presents are spread out before us — costumes of women, 
men, lamas, and other great personages ; every imaginable kind 
of head-gear, objects of veneration, skins, prayer-mills, scented 
wood, and even packets of prayers. They explain to us the 
use of each object, and tell us its name, its material, and its 
origin. On examining the costumes we are surprised to find many 
European fashions among them — crinolines, pinafores, earrings, 
a coiffure shaped like a diadem, and every form of bonnet, includ- 
ing caps with flaps for the ears, hoods, and a minister's (kalouri) 
hat, which is astonishingly like that of a cardinal, with its cords 
and tassels. Among the sacred objects are bells, rosaries, and 



lierhts, to remind us of the Catholic ritual. Our first idea is that 
these objects are relics of a time when the Thibetans doubtless 
professed the same faith as we do, and though they have now 



long lost it, they have retained some of its externals. But with 
regard to these questions I must refer my readers to the admirable 
narrative of Father Hue, and to the works of our missionaries in 
Thibet, Biet, Desgodins, etc., who have been able to study them 
still more closely than Father Hue, and with an ability to which I 


cannot pretend. During the interview they cram us with 
dainties ; aromatics are burning all the time, and often a 
servant enters with perfume, which he sprinkles over the hot 
coals ; the first cloud is addressed to Buddha, the second is 
offered to us, and passed under, and even up, our noses. They 
treat us as though we were gods.' But the certainty that we are 
at last really going towards Batang contributes even more than 
these attentions to put us one and all in good -humour. The 
Amban manifests his great pleasure at things having come to 
so gratifying a conclusion, for, in his character of intermediary 
between his chiefs and us, he has been exposed to rebuffs and 
maledictions, and to the reproaches of his chiefs when he had to 
tell them that he had failed in his mission. 

The horses destined for us arrived this evening, and excellent 
ones they are too, but not shod, and our endeavours to fix shoes on 
them are all in vain, for their hoofs are so hard, dry, and friable 
that the nails bend or fail to hold, or actually split them. 

Ajdril 4. — We have offered our presents in return to the 
Thibetans, regarding it as a point of honour to surpass them in 
generosity, so that we almost emptied our packets in making them 
happy. Revolvers, watches, mirrors, as well as knives and 
scissors, were in great request, while gold coin and silver roubles 
were highly appreciated. Small silver coins, too, are accepted with 
pleasure, for they will serve as buttons in the Chinese fashion. 
As it is, two or three lamas of high rank have buttons made 
of quarter-rupees. 

They all seemed to be very much pleased with our offerings, but 
whether or not we actually succeeded in satisfying the wants of the 
forty or fifty chiefs and servants with whom we had had to do, I 
cannot say. At all events, when we parted, our farewell had 
every appearance of cordiality, and they left nothing undone to 
facilitate our journey as far as Batang, supplying us with 
provisions, sucli as rice, meal, barley, beans, and small peas, and 


giving us advice as to what we should be able to purchase on the 
road, and what we must save up. 

They gave us a lama to act as our guide, and introduce us to 
the chiefs of the numberless tribes we shall encounter. He is a 
great, strong fellow of about twenty-five, looks very good-natured, 
and later on proved himself a man with a good head, very cool, and 
very astute. His superiors urge him to serve us faithfully, and 
obey us promptly, and to ensure his doing so, make him 
presents before we start, and promise him still more valuable ones 
if he brings back proofs of our satisfaction. This young lama, 
who has already been this journey once, will be accompanied 
by a long-haired chief, whose business it is to maintain order 
amongst the score of savages who are to transport our baggage 
and supplies by means of some sixty yaks. In a fortnight 
this chief will make way for another, to whom he will hand over 
the Ta-Lama's orders, and so on, as long as we are on ground 
that is subject to them, while the lamas of independent tribes 
will help us at the request of our lama guide. 

The Ta-Amban, who has been to Batang, and knows the tribes 
that we shall meet, gave us some very fatherly advice with regard 
to them. " You will, on the road, meet with some wild tribes, 
whose ways are very rough, for they are totally uncivilised ; but 
only have patience with them, and all will be well. The worst 
you will find near Batang, and when you reach that district be 
on your guard, for a European was once killed there, and a 
Chinese mandarin stoned. Do not, therefore, neglect measures 
of precaution. As for us, we shall pray for you, and we can only 
hope that you will have a prosperous journey." 

The Ta-Lama approved of this advice, and promised us his 
pra}^ers, which he thinks will be efficacious. We then shook 
hands with them both, and mounted our horses ; and amid the 
farewell salutations of the whole hody, chiefs and all, a start 
was made. 



■ ■ ■ - . 

.-'■- -V -■-:■:: 


A few miles farther on we encamped for the night, and the 
Amban caught us up to assure himself of the perfect organisation 



of our caravan, and to watch over the safe return to their own 
country of those of our servants who are leaving us. 

Great are the rejoicings of our whole band, including the 
three dogs who gambol around us. Even our ram bounds with 


delight — for we have with us, as a companion of our travels, a big 
ram from Kourla. He is quite tame, and we have not sacrificed 
him to our hunger. Now he is everybody's friend, is permitted to 
sleep in a tent, takes bread from our hands, and even scents it 
out and abstracts it from our bags for himself. He is very 
courageous, too, charging dogs and horses, and when we purchase 
other sheep, butts them out of jealousy. At the beginning of our 
travels, before we got into the Lob Nor district, he used to mix 
with the others and lead them, but now he will neither follow his 


fellows nor walk with tlie baffffaee. Nothing 1 less than the 
society of his masters will satisfy him, and he runs bleating 
behind us as though to complain that we are going too fast. 
Macha, for that is his name, has often cheered our drooping 
spirits, and still more often aroused the astonishment of the 
Thibetans by his size, and especially by his enormously fat tail. 

April 5. — The return of Timour, Parpa, Iça, and the three 
Dungans was settled yesterday, and they have received all that 
they require, provisions, horses, money, and some presents. But 
our three Mussulmans asked permission to spend the night with 
their comrades, and to help them in starting for the east to-day. 
They assist them in packing the tent, superintend the loading, and 
exchange a few small objects which will remind them of each other. 

Whilst they are loading our yaks, we go to the Amban's tent 
to eat at his table for the last time. He gives a glass of spirits 
to all who ask for it, not knowing that men should never 
drink when travelling ; and when the meal is over, there is soon 
a slight uproar which prevents the Amban and me from 
conversing. And Abdullah, our interpreter, does not miss this 
chance of getting intoxicated, so he cannot translate our remarks. 
The meeting is, therefore, brought to a close, and the Amban 
and his men accompany us on foot to our camp, where we find 
our three servants and Eachmed. The last yak is now loaded, 
part of our heavy baggage is already far ahead, and we must 
part. We commend once more, and for the last time, our three 
servants to the Amban's care, and then cordiallj r shake hands 
with these honest fellows, whom we shall doubtless never see 
again. When we wish them good health and a safe return home, 
and beg them not to forget us, they burst into tears, fall on their 
knees, and kiss our hands, sobbing bitterly. 

They then press Eachmed, Abdullah, and Akoun to their 
breasts, and those who are bound for the coast weep as well as 
those who are returning home. All these men have been 


connected with us in circumstances amid which men cannot 
conceal their real character, or be independent of their neighbours. 
They have suffered together, have bad to help each other, and 
have learnt to esteem and really like each other. And now their 
hearts are very sad at parting. Their evident affection for us 
cannot but touch us, for it is spontaneous, and proceeds from 
men of energy, from adventurers perhaps, who are capable of 
doing one a bad turn, but whom we have made better men. They, 
too, are convinced that we like them, for we have taken as much 
care of them as of ourselves, and have never exacted from 
them an effort which was not needful, or reproached them with- 
out cause. 

Again we shake hands with the Amban and his companions, 
who have been greatly moved by this scene, and he promises us 
that he will pray for us. And so we set out, accompanied for 
several yards by Parpa and his companions, who hold our horses' 
bridles as a mark of their respect. 

We must, however, separate, and they raise their hands to 
their beards with a " Great is Allah ! " and we there leave them 
desolate and in tears. 





At Oatine — The River Ourtehou — A Hermit Lama — " Steeped in Luxury " — At Djaueoun- 
nene — Meeting a Caravan — Resemblance Between Thibetans and Other Peoples — Thumb 
Language — A Droll Native — The Thibetans Not Fanatics — On the Banks of the Omtchou 
— AtTandi — The Thibetan Sling — A Superb Mountain Scene — A Sight of Ploughed Land 
— First View of the Lama-house of So — The " Delicious Odour " of Wood — A Concierr/e in 
Thibet — Native Money — A Commission of 150 per cent. — Ploughing at So — Crossing the 
So-tchou — A Bearded Thibetan — Why Dishonest Chiefs are Popular. 

Our first stage to Batang lies 
through a valley that varies 
in breadth from one to four 
miles, with encampments in 
the gorges, and herds on the 
ridges. The Ourtehou, which 
flows down it, is, it seems, 
one of the three great tribu- 
taries of the Naptchou, which 
has several smaller ones as 
well. After four hours on 
horseback we encamp on a 
slight elevation, at a place 
called, as our guide tells us, 

Our tent is pitched on the 
edge of a rapid stream, from 
which all the ice and snow have disappeared, except in its creeks. 
We have descended some hundred yards while following first the 
bottom of the valley, and then the. low hills that skirt it on the 
right. On the eastern slopes, a little vegetation is visible, con- 
sisting of brushwood half a foot high which bears in Central Asia 
the generic name of " Camel's Tail," and this suffices to " furnish " 



the landscape a little. The path is at times very stony, and at 
the lower end of the valley grows that stalky, strong grass, which 
is the despair of thinly shod people. Our direction is at present 
north-east, soon to change to east; in order to strike a road which, 
though far from being the straighter of the two, is, we are assured, 
the better for beasts of burden. We must needs follow our 
guide, for the simple reason that we cannot argue with him, from 
want of information, books having taught us nothing about this 
district, which is blank on the map. However, we think we 
recognise on the Russian maps the spot which we ought to reach 
in ten days, if our yak-drivers are right. Its name is So (written 
Sok), and we shall find there, we are told, a large lama-house. 
Our stay at Gatine is most enjoyable ; at three p.m. the thermo- 
meter marks 41° in the shade. TakiDg my gun, I go for a walk 
on the tableland, and feel a real pleasure in being quite alone, 
without any of the Thibetans with whom we have to talk and 
argue for hours together. 

The shadows gradually darken on the mountain -side, which does 
not look steep. It seems, by insensible degrees, to form stages 
up to the very top, so as not to put the climber out of breath. 
Northwards the horizon is still bathed in light, while over the 
valley float trails of bluish smoke betraying the presence of tents. 
The quiet is delicious, broken only by the larks, lustily trilling 
their love-songs. Presently night begins to fall. The sun is 
lost to sight, after seeming to rest a moment on the bend of the 
tableland to the west. No sooner, however, has he run his daily 
course, than the moon rises in the east, like an immense ball of 
gold, in the direction of Batang. Then, suddenly, two waives 
appear on the top of a snow-hill, but, seeing me, stop, and after a 
moment's reflection, turn tail. As they were out of range at first, 
and are now far away, it is useless to think of following them, so 
I return to the camp to warn our men that they must protect our 
flock of sheep. They accordingly tie the older ones together, 


nose to nose, by tlieir horns, and the others, of their own accord, 
creep in between them. Over sixty yaks are also attached, in a 
ring, to a cord fixed close to the ground, so as to form, with their 
hairy bodies, a wall round our tents and sheep, a small gap being 
left in the circle so that we may have an open path to draw water 
from the stream. The horses are left to wander at will around 
the camp, as we know that they are accustomed and able to 
protect themselves against the wolves, and in case of danger our 
dogs will give the alarm. 

Our drivers having asked us to start early the following 
morning, so that the yaks may have time to graze during the day, 
we soon get supper ready, consisting of boiled mutton, which we 
attack with a good appetite. Above us shine the stars, though 
very feebly in the dazzling moonshine ; a gentle breeze comes 
from the south, not a single cloud is to be seen, and the heavens 
display all tlieir grandeur, the mountains being apparently re- 
duced, under so magnificent a vault, to the size of mere molehills. 

The road is no longer dull as it was in winter : the landscape 
is more varied, game is abundant and furnishes plenty of dis- 
traction. Our collection becomes by degrees our chief care, for 
the nomads we come across are as affable as possible. The} r live 
in black tents, drinking the milk of their cows, which are very 
small, and which they cross with yaks. They have sheep with 
very fine wool, and also small goats about the size of our kids. 
The goats are generally black, with long drooping hair like the 
yaks, small horns, and legs that look short but are undoubtedly 
strong, as is proved by their bounds and speed ; they weigh from 
eleven to thirteen pounds. The wives of the Thibetan shepherds 
have to do nearly all the work, but they enjoy full liberty, and are not 
unsociable, freely approaching our camp, sitting down by the side 
of our Thibetans, and soon getting to be on good terms with them. 

April 6. — We have been lost in admiration of the dwelling 
of a hermit lama perched on the mountain, on the left bank of the 


river Ourfcchou, between Gatine and Tsatang, for it is so long 
since we have seen anything like a house. This looked a very 
large one, but our lama told us that it was very small— just large 
enough for one person. With the help of our glasses we could 
make out a rectangle of chalk walls, a verandah, and the frames 
of one window and one door, so that it must really be quite 
small. But it was bathed in sunshine, and looked so white and 
cheerful that we could not pity the monk who has retired there, 
away from the distractions of the world. We asked our lama how 
this recluse could live, and he pointed to the tents that are 
pitched lower down in the valley : " They give him all he needs : 
whenever he wants anything, he goes down to those tents and 
prays, then they fill his wallet, and he returns home." 

Considerable difficulty is experienced in getting our yaks to 
cross the river. For the breaking-up of the frost is now near at 
hand, and the edges are already clear of ice ; and we have to enter 
the water, then mount on ice, repeating this performance several 
times before gaining the opj)osite bank. The laden yaks break 
through and fall into the water, only extricating themselves with 
great difficulty, and after wetting our baggage, though it is pro- 
tected by felt wrappings. 

The width of the river varies from 1G0 to 350 feet, and in 
flood may be 470 feet near Tsatang, where it widens out. Then 
it penetrates the mountain, which contracts it, and causes it to 
wind gently. Near Gatine it broadens out again and forms eyots 
on which we see and kill some ruddy sheldrakes {Casarca rutila) ; 
the same, I think, that are found in Turkestan, and called in 
Turkish, if I remember aright, dourma. Along this same river, 
too, we kill some geese with heads striped with black, ducks 
exactly like those of the Lob Nor, white gulls, and a crane, such 
as Prjevalsky first described. 

All our wants are supplied at the encampments which we come 
across : very good mutton, plenty of milk, fuel, water in skins 


wlien we are no longer on the banks of the river, and fodder for 
onr beasts. We are short of nothing, so well does our lama, 
seconded by a young chief who has a long plait of hair, look after 
us ; in fact, they take as much care of us as if they were our 
sons. Compared to the life we were leading only a short time 
ago, and especially before we reached Dam, we feel ourselves 
positively steeped in luxury. 

Now and again we meet with hunters carrying matchlocks, 
forks, and lances, with powerful dogs in leash, long-haired, like 
our shepherds' dogs, and with broad heads shaped like that of a 
bear. Many of these dogs are black, with reddish-brown spots, 
this latter being generally the colour of their chests and paws, as 
it is that of the hares to the south of the higher tablelands. 
We collect quantities of small birds, and come across black divers, 
black marmots, and dark brown bears. 

In proportion as we advance the natives improve in face and 
form, and we are much struck by their gaiety and light-hearted- 
ness. The women smear their faces with butter, and, as they 
never wash, the butter catches the smoke and dust and becomes a 
regular mask of soot. We can only suppose that fchey do this in 
order to protect their faces against the biting winds. 

April 8. — At Djaucounnene, after turning in an easterly 
direction on quitting a pass, we for the first time meet a caravan. 
Bags are piled up to form a wall behind which the travellers take 
shelter, whilst their yaks graze close by. They are transporting 
barley and meal from So to Lhassa. As they approach we are 
struck by the breadth of their faces, and the slant of their eyes, 
which turn upwards at the corners ; they are dressed just like our 
drivers, but are much taller. 

At first sight, a new people presents a well-defined general 
type ; but, on looking more closely, and examining it well, this 
apparent uniformity is found to be qualified by considerable variety. 
We are even astonished to find a resemblance in our Thibetans to 



certain other nations, and even to friends and acquaintances of 
ours. Here, for instance, is one with a perfect Greek profile, as 
shown on the best cameos. His neighbour, on the other hand, 
is of the redskin t} T pe, with receding brow and arched nose, like 


an eagle's beak, while he walks with head slightly thrown back. 
By his side is a young lad, singing as he prepares some meat for 
sausages, cutting it on the pommel of his saddle ; with his dark 
eyes and regular features, and hair falling over his forehead, he 
might be an Italian. What we can affirm as a fact is that we 
are in the presence of a white race, that has nothing in com- 
mon with those of a yellow complexion but the absence of beard, 
which is, however, amply compensated by the quantity of hair 
they have on their heads ; in fact, it is not unusual to see even old 
men with plaits as thick as a cable. 

Our yak-drivers are always busy, content with little sleep, and 


very cheerful; all the time they are getting their beasts ready 
they hum an air, and finish the loading very quickly. They are 
indefatigable walkers, and some of them climb the steepest hill- 
sides singing and without losing breath ; in fact, the} r breathe 
with greater ease than do their yaks, though we should bear in 
mind that these latter are loaded. Deep-chested, these men have 
well-set necks, of average length. To-day Eachmed made them 
a present of half a sheep, as a proof of our being well satisfied 
with them. Using their knives with the greatest dexterity, they 
put the best pieces aside, ate the head raw, as we had seen them 
do before, and proceeded to cook the rest by throwing the inferior 
pieces into hot water, the feet with the wool still on them, and the 
intestines scarcely cleansed. 

They are excellent mimics, and speak very well, with a good 
deal of gesture and facial play. I have already explained that 
they express disagreement by joining the thumb-nails, and agree- 
ment by putting them just the opposite way. Putting the 
thumb up means approval and satisfaction ; raising the little 
finger denotes hostility, while to keep it in this position and at 
the same time to shake the head signifies dislike. The two 
thumbs placed perpendicularly one above the other, with the 
tongue hanging out, denote superlative approval. 

The old man who was photographed, prayer-mill in hand, 
is very droll, and fond of jokes. Our interpreter Abdullah 
amuses himself by saluting him in Thibetan. When the old 
man replies, with astounding seriousness, Abdullah asks him how 
he salutes a chief like the Amban, and the old man lolls out his 
tongue and bows low ; and when anyone speaks to him of the 
Ta-Amban (Great Amban), he expresses the deepest degree of 
humility by scratching himself behind the ear. We laugh, and 
the Thibetans themselves are amused by this little comedy. 

It often happens that our lama prays aloud, as well as the 
young chief, his companion. Then Abdullah begins to imitate 


their different intonations of voice, so that we cannot tell 
which is which ; far from being angry, they all, " clerics " as 
well as laymen, begin to laugh. This does not suggest religious 
fanaticism; they seem, indeed, to content themselves with the 
forms and externals of religion, as the sole manifestation of their 
faith. Our old chief occupies his leisure moments in turning his 
prayer-mill from right to left, even when walking, and often 
mumbles a litany. Men who believe in the transmigration of 
souls, and to whom intellectual exercise is a thing unknown, can 
only occupy themselves usefully, when neither legs nor arms are 
working, in reciting formulas under the impression that they will 
thus secure for themselves a better existence. 

April 9. — The day before yesterday we left the river Ourtchou 
to ascend one of its tributaries, called the Botchou ; on the 8th 
we traversed a tableland and a pass into a valley where the 
Ourtchou flows in a south-easterly direction. We therefore had 
to leave it again, and to-day we ascended a small river towards the 
east, encamping at the upper end of a valley, at the foot of a pass 
which we shall ascend to-morrow. We are, at present, at an 
altitude of from 15,000 to 16,000 feet. In the valleys, where 
grass is to be found, we saw some tents and flocks. Three men 
whom we met were as much alike as three brothers could be. 
They were all short, and had the round heads, and straight noses, 
with narrow bridges, of Romans. All three were toothless, and, 
with their lower lips drooping on to their round chins, they 
recalled the busts of Nero. 

We are now on the banks of the Omtchou, but shall have to 
leave it, for it, too, flows south-east, as far as we can tell, as is 
the case with most of the rivers in this region. 

April 10. — A pass leads us to a small river, then another lime- 
stone pass, with obos, on which our Thibetans do not fail to 
deposit stones with a prayer; then another valley, and a river 
to cross, and finally a steppe from three to four miles broad, 



which seems a vast plain. Through it flows the So-tchou, 
which is from 100 to 200 feet broad. According to what our 
lama and the old chief say, we have now crossed the four 


principal tributaries of the Kitchou, which flows by Lhassa, viz., 

the Ourtchou, the Poptchou, the Omdjamtchou, and the Satchou. 

April 12. — We have a sharp white frost during the night, but 

the morning is superb. Antelopes stare at us, great eagles are 


describing circles in the air, and in the gorge our hunters see 
some bears. These animals swarm about here, and, unfortunately 
for us, have better legs than their pursuers. Wolves often howl 
at night, but are never visible by day. We traverse a pass, at 
a height of about 16,500 feet, and encamp, at the bottom, at 
Tandi, on the banks of a river. 

Our stages, it will be seen, are very similar to one another. 
We do not feel them to be severe, for we are now much better and 
stronger, but they average twelve miles each, which means a 
good deal more in a mountainous country than elsewhere. In 
order that our yaks may not lose strength, their loads are changed 
every day, so that the same beast never carries our wild-yak 
skins, which are very heavy, nor our cartridge-boxes, on two 
successive days. As soon as one is tired, it is unloaded, and 
another takes its place out of a reserve stock of ten, which only 
carry their saddles. 

April 13. — We begin to ascend from the moment of start- 
ing, and for three hours follow the deviations of a path which 
winds along the side of the ridges, now to the south-east, now to 
the north-east. To the north are steep heights and bare rocks, 
while to the south valleys descend towards a smaller chain, also 
bare, beyond and overlooking which is a higher chain, white with 
ice glittering from under the snow. The road is difficult, and we 
admire the agility of our yaks, their surefootedness, and the 
strength of their legs, thanks to which they can take a drop of 
six feet and fall on their feet, and that, too, with a load on their 
backs. And our horses are quite as clever. 

A caravan meets us on its way to Lhassa, consisting, of course, 
of no (as yaks are called in these parts), for everything here is 
transported by these cattle with horses' tails. They are laden 
with long boxes covered with skins, and containing sugar, as we 
are told. At the head marches a lama with a pointed yellow cap, 
and carrying over his shoulder his cup in a leather bag, and 


several sacred images in little frames of hammered copper. He 
walks quickly, and his leanness, his hollow cheeks, and light 
step, remind Eachmed and me of old Pir, a good mollah who was 
our guide on the Pamir. The descent is along a river with high 
banks, and intercepted with ravines. Then the valley contracts to 
a mere gorge between the rocks, which we descend on ice, and the 
gorge in turn becomes a valley. We camp at Tjéma-Loung, 
which means "mouth of the gorge." Some tents are pitched not 
far off, and when we pass in front of them, the dogs rush out at 
us, but their masters call them back and drive them away with 
stones, and then salute us. They have come here to prostrate 
themselves before their chief {bembo), whose face is pitted with 
small-pox. He is, however, very energetic, and accompanies us 
as long as we are on the grounds of his tribe. His insignia 
consist of a collar and bells, which he hangs round his horses' 
neck. We repeatedly ask for milk, and the chief never fails to 
demand some at the tents which we pass, though he coolly pockets 
all the small change which we hand to those who provide us 
with it. 

Around our tents lammergeiers are fighting over the remains of 
a sheep, which they watched us kill. Wishing to see for ourselves 
the skill of the Thibetans with the sling, we asked a man to try his 
aim at one about seventy-five yards off. Picking out an oval 
stone, a young man, who passes for the best slinger amongst them, 
places it in the sling, then swings it round once ; the end cracks, 
and the stone falls within nine inches of the bird, which flies off at 
once. We examine this redoubtable weapon, which is about seven 
feet in length and very simple, consisting of strands of wool 
plaited loosely together, so as to leave it supple. In the middle is a 
small pocket to hold the stone. At one end is a ring in which 
the thumb is placed, the other end, having no ring, is pressed 
between the thumb and the linger, care being taken that the 
stone hangs evenly in the middle. 


To-night our men keep on the. alert. Some of them sleep at 
a certain distance from the tents, watching the yaks. From 
time to time those near the tents give forth shrill cries, and 
the distant sentinels reply with a similar cry, which is again given 
back like an echo by the men on the mountains. It is a sort of 
greeting to each other, as well as a defiance to the enemy, for 
we are told that caravans are often robbed hereabouts. 

April 14. — We set out early for So, which is on the other 
side of some difficult passes. After crossing the river and then 
one of its affluents, we mounted to the top of the first pass, which 
is about 13,000 feet high. Then, by a path which is stony, 
difficult, and such that a horse cannot always get up with his 
rider, in four hours we reached the la-La, at an altitude of about 
16,500 feet. These excellent people here rightly thought that 
we should be glad of a draught of milk, which is as welcome as 
manna in this stony desert, where our only drink is snow 
that has been sheltered from the sun at the bottom of the 

After satisfying our hunger and thirst, we continue our 
journey by a path along a ridge as far as the oho that marks 
the spot where the desert commences. A perfect panorama 
here stretches out before our eyes. The horizon is clear at the 
four cardinal points, and a regular ocean of mountains is visible ; 
quite as many to the north as to the south, only the summits are 
whiter southwards. This is undoubtedly a magnificent mountain 
scene, though these " grand views " are, after all, very much alike, 
and a little stretch of plain would be most acceptable. 

After such a climb, it is only right that we should have a 
scramble down. At one time we go faster than we care for on a 
stony path with innumerable twists, at another we slide along 
rocks on the ice left by a torrent, falling and then getting up 
again. We do not lose a single one of our loaded yaks, but among 
those which are not laden, three fall over a precipice, and are 



killed at once. We then cross, recross, and again cross the river, 
to find ourselves on such level ground that our horses, of their 


own accord, break into a trot. To our left, at the lower end of 
the plateau, is a river flowing from the north to the south, into 
which the one we have just crossed empties itself. But what is 
it that we see in the valley ? Cultivated fields ! Ploughed land ! 


Yes, and farther away to the north, at the junction of the rivers, 
a sort of pyramid, looking like a sugar-loaf on a cubic base of 
masonry. Insensibly the ground rises, and soon, straight in front 
of us, upon an isolated cone which the river skirts to the east, 
rise high grey walls, built on the very edge of the cliffs and 
forming a most imposing mass. Above these walls extends a 
rectangle, having at one end a square tower and at the other a 
cloistered gallery. From the flat roof rise long poles looking like 
masts, from the ends of which float coloured flags and pen- 

The chief who is our guide, tells us that this is So Goumba, 
the lama-house of So. As he pronounced these words, the poor 
savage's face expressed his pride, and he repeated " So Groumba ! 
So Groumba ! " as though he would give us to understand that it is 
not every day that one has the luck to see so fine an edifice. 
As for us, although we did not feel his admiration for this speci- 
men of human work, yet the sight of a habitation was a real 
satisfaction to us. For five months we had not seen so extensive, 
so monumental a building ; indeed, I might say for six, for the 
huts and cottages at Tcharkalik scarcely count. 

Our curiosity was now aroused, for Ave had heard before from 
our men that there are many houses at So, and we were therefore 
naturally anxious to arrive there. But as we proceeded we saw 
nothing beyond what I have described. At last I asked, " Where 
is So?" 

" There it is," answered the Thibetan, pointing with his finger 
to what we were unwilling to take for a town. We congratulated 
him on the beauty of his capital, and one man, taking our re- 
marks quite seriously, expressed his acquiescence. On reaching 
the Goumba, we discovered that it looks like a fortress only on 
the north and west sides, and that the winds are the enemy 
against which these solid walls have been reared as a defence 
The south front presents to view row upon row of small lime- 


stone houses, exposed to the sun's rajs, which they admit by 
doors, windows, and countless galleries. This side is as open as 
the others are shut in. All the dwellings, clinging to the sides of 
the slopes and the irregularities in the rock, are so completely one 
above the other, that the roofs of one row serve as terrace or 
courtyard to those in the row above. The one wide opening is 
the gate, flanked by pillars in the Persian style, and by this the 
bearers of sacks, faggots, and other necessaries destined for the 
use of the monastery enter and depart. 

The good lamas were to be seen with bare heads and shorn, 
draped, like Roman senators, in dark, coarse woollen robes ; some 
walking up and down the terraces, others sitting cross-legged or 
stretched on rugs, with their legs tucked under them, and 
watching us as they basked in the sunshine. 

Wending our way to the palace we were to occupy, we came to 
a gate with folding doors, to which are affixed two written 
notices in Thibetan, which, with the aid of the imagination, en- 
abled us to fancy that they were lodging us in the Town Hall of 
the district. Through a porch we entered a square court, in the 
north-west corner of which some small chambers are built against 
the walls, with a gallery, constructed of wooden pillars, in front 
of them. The other two sides of the court contain only a 
granary, and a place where the horses are tethered. 

This house is, it seems, reserved for the reception of great men 
on their way to or from Lhassa, and belongs to the Talai-Lama, 
that is, the oligarchy which rules Thibet. A pole — dressed at the 
top with stuffs of every colour, yellow predominating — rising from 
the courtyard, marks the fact that it is under the Government 
flag. A simple glance at the interior of these so-called " rooms " 
sufficed to make us decide to keep to our tents, so full were they 
of filth and vermin. 

While our men were erecting our tent, after levelling the 
ground a little, we made for a heap of split wood against the wall. 


Wood ! imagine our happiness as we feel it, and sniff the delicious 
odour of the still green juniper, which penetrates even to our 
hearts, Frenchmen as we are, who love the forests so keenly, 
and whose ancestors used to cry, " To the mistletoe !" on ISTew 
Year's Day. Then we were lost in ecstasy before their walls, 
built, as is the fashion out here, with rough stones and soil, and 
sanctified by the insertion of prayers and carved images of 
Buddha. Our attention was next attracted by the roof, with its 
astonishing, unheard-of chimney-top, consisting of a huge 
earthenware pot that had lost its bottom, probably by being 
knocked against an iron one ; by garlands of prayers, attached 
to staples and decorating our house; by the stairs, made of 
earth and turf, leading up to the roof ; and by the fireside, a little 
square altar, on which were odoriferous branches in honour of the 
divinity. Finally, to complete the house, was a concierge, living in 
a little lodge, with a bitch and her two puppies. He was an ugly- 
looking individual, greasy, tall, lean, and squint-eyed, with a 
pointed face black with filth, and made apparently longer by 
his high narrow forehead ; he had the short hair of a lama, and 
seemed to be a sort of lay-brother. We were scarcely settled 
when we received a visit from the civil and the religious chiefs, 
who were both very polite to us, bringing us rice, milk, two sheep, 
and chopped straw for our horses. They made a note of what we 
wanted, and gave us their word that we should be able to start in 
two days without fail, in accordance with our wishes. We made 
them some presents in turn. In the evening they cooked us 
some excellent slices of mutton, thanks to a good wood fire, and 
we had capital milk, well-made bread and well-cooked rice. We 
could sit near the fire without being poisoned by the smell of 
the dried dung which they burn in the desert; and, in truth, 
we fancied ourselves in another world. We were now at a 
height of less than 10,000 feet, and the air seemed so heavy 
and so stifling that we had to open the door of our tent. At 


nightfall the lamas, posted on the terraces of the monastery, 
gave us a serenade with their long trumpets, the dogs supple- 
menting this discordant music with their barking ; but the 
awful noise gradually diminished, and so we fell asleep, 

April 15. — When we awoke this morning we complained of 
the heat. The minimum during the night was only 23° Fahr., 
so that winter is over for us, and not too soon. Having spent 
the day mending various articles, we distributed presents among 
the senior chiefs and drivers who have accompanied us, as they 
wished to start on their way back before sunset, so that they 
might spend the night at the foot of la-La, and commence its 
difficult ascent to-morrow. 

We paid them generously in iambas, though they prefer Indian 
rupees to this species of money in bulk ; because the Chinese mer- 
chants constantly cheat them by having two different scales, 
which always tell in their own favour, and also by preparing a very 
bad alloy ; not unnaturally, therefore, the savages prefer actual 
coins, the weight and value of which they understand. The only 
Thibetan coin that we have seen used is one about as thick as a 
sixpence and as large as a halfpenny, weighing the sixth of an 
ounce. It ought always to be of silver, but sometimes, to the 
disgrace of the authorities of the "mint," it is of a bad alloy, 
so that the savages do not readily accept it. On one side it is 
stamped with inscriptions on eight medallions, forming a circle 
round a rose in the centre ; and on the other, with curious 
ornamentations, among which we fancy we can recognise the 
crescent touching the sun, and the trident. 

This distribution of money and presents gave rise to a little 
incident, and revealed to us the presence of a Chinaman at So, a 
confirmed opium-smoker, who gains a livelihood as a usurer and 
money-changer. He is a native of Kensi, and was obliged, long 
ago, to flee his country for good and sufficient reasons. We 
availed ourselves of his knowledge of Thibetan to explain to 



the men whom we had been rewarding the amonnt of the money 
which we had given them ; for, with the exception of the oldest 
amongst them, they had no idea of the meaning of scales and 
weights. And the chiefs who accompanied us, having offered to ex- 
change these ingots for " cash," had given them only three or four 
apiece of these Thibetan coins, thus realising a profit of one hun- 
dred and fifty per cent. When the opium-smoker explained our 
generosity to them, they were very much put out at the rapacity 
of their chiefs, though the majority of them dared neither protest 
nor ask for their ingots back. Two, however, did not conceal their 
displeasure, and we intervened and made the chiefs hand back to 
the poor fellows what was meant for them, whereupon they 
manifested their joy by jumping about in most comical fashion. 
Then, bowing down and taking our hands, they placed them on 
their heads, and finally withdrew backwards, raising their thumbs 
and hanging out their tongues. Their yaks were quickly as- 
sembled and loaded with their slender baggage, and they started 
off singing. 

The news of our arrival having got abroad, with the addition, 
no doubt, that we were open-handed, our house was positively 
besieged by a crowd of beggars of both sexes. We offered 
them a sheep, which we handed to the captain of this horde, 
bidding him distribute it equally. This largess rid us of them 
and their vermin, but not of the do^s. The number of these 
animals is perfectly astounding ; in fact, we could not say whether 
beggars or dogs were the more numerous at So. 

From our house we can see the men ploughing in the valley 
below. They scratch the mountain-side with a plough drawn by 
two yaks, which are led by a man who holds the cords attached 
to the rings in their noses. From behind the ploughman whips 
them up, though they do not go any quicker, but merely straighten 
their tufted tails and growl. The furrows are very small, and 
as far as possible perpendicular to the lie of the slope, with 


the view, no doubt, of stopping the waters which run down from 
the plateau. When the field has been ploughed they come to- 
wards us, and so give us the opportunity of examining their team. 
It consists of a pole fixed to a joke which the beasts keep up. 
The tail is simply a large branch roughly hewn and bent a little 
to form a handle ; the share is of wood, with two side-pieces also 
of wood, bound by means of leathern thongs and with an iron tip 
in front. The men seem to till the land with great care, breaking 
the clods with a wooden mallet, and picking up the stones, which 
they place in a heap at the corner of the field. We see several 
others ploughing in the same way ; the driver is sometimes a 
woman, but it is always a man with body bared who holds the 
tail and guides the plough lightly through the soil. 

Turning to the lama-house, we see much more movement 
within- it than there was }^esterday. The dilapidations in the 
roof and walls are being repaired. Women carry the mortar and 
stones in baskets, while the men arrange the materials, and we 
see several of them treading the soil down on the roof and 
singing as they work. The lamas, richly clad, stand out boldly 
against the sky on the highest point of the roof, as they interest 
themselves in the work, and in various striking attitudes watch 
the men. These hurried repairs suggest that the rainy season 
is at hand. 

April 16. — We quit So after having said our adieus to our 
companions, the minor chiefs, who are returning home. One of 
them is going to Lhassa, and we commission him to carry our 
kind remembrances to our old friends who live in the holy city. 

Crossing the So-tchou, which here is from 4S0 to G60 feet 
broad, we have an involuntary bath. We then ascend a valley 
from which one of the tributaries of the So-tchou comes down. 
As we follow the banks of the river along an easy road with the 
sun shining brightly, our eyes are gladdened by the juniper and 
brushwood which cover the slopes on the higher ground ; herds 



are browsing the green grass ; yaks, sheep, and horses vie with 
each other in perching themselves on the most inaccessible spots. 
Every now and again black ,tents are to be seen in a gorge, and 


near them blocks of ice, reminding us that the winter is only now 

over. In fact, we are perspiring, and have already forgotten the 

awful cold of the tablelands. At the end of the valley tents are 

pitched ready for us, with piles of faggots, and scarcely have 

we sat down when an old fellow presents himself with pendent 

tongue and a pot of creamy milk. Here we shoot some partridges 

that are quite new to us, and have been for a long time puzzling 

us by a cry which they uttered without showing themselves. 




While searching for them I catch sight of three natives at our 
feet behind a rock, amusing themselves with the contemplation of 
their own features in a pocket mirror, which they are evidently 
using for the first time. They stop here for some time, chatting, 
and laughing boisterously at their own grimaces. The mildness 
of the temperature seems to us extraordinary ; we no longer 
require our cloaks except after sunset. We again notice a curious 
phenomenon, though it is less striking here than on the tablelands : 
our woollen cloaks and clothes, whenever they are touched in the 
dark, become luminous with electricity, and give forth a slight 

April 17. — Our road becomes more and more picturesque. 
We traverse regular woods of juniper trees, above which the 
green hills appear. Herds become more numerous, and trees more 
sparse. The method of building is no longer the same, for other 
materials are here available. We see huts, made of branches, 
built against the mountain-side, and the tents are surrounded 
with hedges, as among the Ivirghis on the mountains of Central 
Asia, while the animals are shut in at night, because of the 
cultivated lands. Fires are made of wood, with which dung is 
mixed. The men are also laying by supplies of grass for the 
winter, and everywhere we see erections that look like "-allows 
or gibbets, formed of upright poles, on the tops of which others 
are fixed crosswise ; on these they dry the grass, which is, at 
the same time, out of reach of the cattle. In proportion as the 
land is more generous, the inhabitants take more care of themselves, 
and have stronger frames. For the first time we notice among 
these shepherds the use of a covering other than the cloak, for some 
are wearing cotton shirts with broad sleeves, and others sleeveless 
waistcoats. Almost all of them smoke pipes of tin or beaten iron, 
with tubes so long that by slightly stooping the smoker can 
light his very bad tobacco at the fire. On the road they carry, 
attached to their tobacco-pouch, a little wooden vessel in which 


they empty the residue of each pipe, and quickly filling the small 
bowl, light the fresh tobacco from the burning remains. 

At Souti, in the valley of Soudjou, we were as astonished to 
see a man with a little black beard as we are at home to see a 
woman with hair on her chin. This individual, adorned also with 
a rudimentary moustache, is in other respects very like his fellows. 
He seems to be in the service of the local chief, who attracts our 
attention at once, for he seems an exact picture of what a bar- 
barian chief should be. No longer young, for his hair is turning 
grey, he is still active and vigorous ; his style of salutation is 
dignified though simple ; he has regular features, thin lips, small 
eyes, with a proud look in them, and in all his gestures there is a 
certain amount of distinction combined with simplicity and ease. 
Whether he is walking, lighting his pipe — which is as long as 
his arm — or resting, he looks well. Ask him a question and he 
replies seriously ; he issues brief orders that are quickly executed. 
He commands in a natural way, like a man born to be obeyed. 

Since leaving So, we have often noticed that the soil on the 
banks of the river has been disturbed. To-day the mystery is 
solved, for on the fire near the tent we see a pot filled with what 
seems to be, from its taste, a kind of turnip. It is called niotima, 
and is found in the ground, just like truffles, growing generally 
with a long root, in which case it has a flat top like a mushroom, 
but sometimes the root is short. 

From Souti we reach Eitchimbo by a pass, and are scarcely in 
the valley before we meet with an easterly wind, for the first time 
these many weeks, and a storm of sleet. The juniper trees 
have almost entirely disappeared, and here we are on a steppe 

We have to change our yaks to-day, and for the last time we 
pay our workmen and drivers directly for their services. They 
always hand their money at once to their chiefs, who appropriate 
two-thirds of it, under the idea, doubtless, that we are "ruining 


trade." For the future, we shall simply hand a lump sum 
to the chief of the band, taking care to be less generous. We 
have often asked each other why savages submit so readily 
to the extortions of their chiefs. An Oriental gave us an ex- 
planation of this which may be worth mentioning. " We greatly 
prefer dishonest chiefs," said he, " because they punish us less 
severely when we deserve punishment, and we can obtain from 
them favours which it would be useless to ask from honest chiefs, 
who refuse bribes. The latter only do and permit what is just 
and right." 

At Eitchimbo we see, for the first time, a goitre, on the neck 
of a small chief. 

April 20. — The whole mountain is covered to a depth of 
about four inches with fine snow, which began to fall last 
night. After climbing a very difficult pass, called Kela, which 
is also the name of the neighbouring chain, and reaching, 
with great trouble and in intolerable heat, a height of 15,200 
feet, the descent began. The snow was positively dazzling in the 
sunshine, and our faces were scorched, for we could not protect 
ourselves against the reflection of the sun's rays, after the manner 
of the natives, who let their long hair hang down over their faces. 
They, however, suffer from headache, to relieve which they put 
handfuls of snow on their heads. It took us three hours to cross 
the pass, and we then followed the course of a river, sometimes 
on the ice and sometimes on the bank. On the adjacent lands 
were houses with flat tops, and surrounded with hedges ; dogs 
greeted us with their barking, and we fancied we could even hear 
cats mewing, though it might, perhaps, have been little lambs 
bleating. Juniper trees were again very scarce, but the hill -sides 
bristled with brushwood ; and every time that we raised our eyes 
we saw yaks where one would think only birds could perch. 
Then, leaving the valley, \\*e climbed a ridge which forced us to go 
out of our way, with the result that we stumbled along towards a 


chief's house near Bata-Soumdo. This place, we are told, is on 
Chinese territory ; it is near a training-school for lamas situated 
on the west side of the valley, which looks from here like a cul- 
de-sac, stretching from north to south, and shut in on the north 
by a superb mass of bristling broken rocks, with their slim and 
snowy points rising one above the other. The whole looks like an 
immense assemblage of tapering Gothic spires. On this side are 
more houses built on and round the slopes, while above and 
below cattle are grazing. 

Our approach causes considerable curiosity, and several women, 
freshly besmeared, come out of the house. One of them is young, 
and as she does not wear a mask of dirt, displa} T s fine features 
and a prepossessing face set in a natural head of hair, curly be- 
yond all description. This head of hair is evidently " inhabited," 
but, from the calm fashion in which she disposes of those of her 
little six-footed friends that she can catch, it does not seem to 
enter her mind that she is at all singular in this respect. The 
chief, who is a fearful old rascal and very ughv, makes a difficulty 
about supplying us with yaks and horses, thougli we offer to pay 
him for their use. He pretends that he has none at his disposal. 
We can see plenty of them on the mountain, however, and call 
his attention to this manifest contradiction, and, being thus 
cornered, he avows that he can do nothing on his own authorit}^. 
" I must," lie says, " have an order from the Chinese chief at 
Lhassa or Tsiamdo. Have you one ? " Thereupon our lama 
and the representative of the chief at So take him in hand, and 
the affair is soon settled. We express our astonishment at this 
difficulty, and our lama explains to us that the people in this 
valley are brigands, thieves, blackguards, in short, Chinese subjects, 
and that they are dependent on the Chinese mandarins at Tsiamdo. 

Our afternoon is devoted to a reception of crowds of idlers 
whom we allow to inspect our various utensils. Some enamelled 
dishes call forth expressions of great admiration, while they raise 


their thumbs at the sight of our firearms, and greet our big-tailed 
ram with shouts of joy. 

By dint of small presents, we induce some of the yak-drivers 
from Bitchimbo to transport our baggage during the four days 
that we have still to pass on the territory of Tsiamdo. The most 
ardent advocate in our behalf is a kind of idiot, about fifty 
years old, whom his comrades obey in spite of his evident lack of 
intelligence. We secured his allegiance by giving him a pocket 
mirror, which he had asked for scores of times during the 
stage. Although so simple-minded, he has wonderful legs, and is 
never tired of using them. On the slightest excuse he would 
come up to us, and hold the horse's bridle, under the pretence of 
being of some assistance ; and, hanging out his tongue, would 
pretend to look at himself in the hollow of his hand, as if he were 
holding a looking-glass in it, and with the gestures and mimicry 
of a Neapolitan would beg us to give him one. Since our arrival 
at Bata-Soumdo he has never ceased hanging about Rachmed, 
whom he knows to be the cashier, the dispenser of our goods ; and 
when Dedeken hands him the longed-for mirror, he receives it 
with an amusing explosion of joy that we have never seen 
equalled. Raising his arms, he looks at himself, protrudes his 
tongue, and gives a bound in the air, kicking up his heels. 
He then runs to the women, and allows them to contemplate 
their own features in his glass, but repulses them roughly when 
they try to take it into their own hands. Some men then 
approach, whereupon he runs away with a bound like a goat that 
has just been let loose, pursued by some of his companions, who 
cannot catch him up. He then stops, and allows them just a 
glance at themselves in his glass, but that is all, and at last he con- 
ceals this precious object, and each time that anyone asks him for 
the loan of it, replies, in a serious tone, that they have had enough 
amusement for the present. This strange man marks his friend- 
ship for a certain little girl by handing her a little bit of glass off 



a box of cigarettes ; and she immediately holds this glass in the 
palms of her hands, and contemplates her reflected image, all the 
women following her example. 

April 21. — We start, though rather late, to-day, for we have 
been obliged to adopt persuasive measures to induce a very 
recalcitrant chief to furnish us with his quota of men and beasts. 
Our lama and Eachmed at last bring him to understand that we 
distribute with no sparing hand blows as well as more agreeable 





Thibetan Vitellius — Tchang — Commercial Chinamen — Native Women — Polyandry and 
Polygamy — Beggars — Contentment — The Chief of the District at Home — A Theological 
Question — Departure from Sérésumdo — Mendicant Lamas and their Music — News from 
Lhassa — The Honeymoon in Thibet — Novel Method of Crossing a Stream — Tumblers — 
A Chief in His Cups — A Scene of Home Life —Force Majeure — Fickleness of the Natives : 
The Probable Cause— At Karimeta — Primitive Husbandry — A Lamaess — Praying Wind- 
mills — Tchoungo — The Dàla and Djala Passes — A Splendid Prospect — A Pagoda — 
Houmda — Lagoon : a Manufacturing Town. 

April 21. — We make a short 
stage as far as Poiounclo, half-way 
through a pass. The slopes are 
covered with brushwood, and in a 
thicket of rhododendrons we can see 
musk-deer bounding about. Some 
natives are very anxious to sell us 
musk-bags, and, to prove their 
generosity, offer us, at the same 
time, some of the long teeth of 
these animals. But these cunning 
salesmen, who ask at least twenty- 
five rupees apiece for the bags, are 
regular cheats, for they have emptied 
most of the bags and crammed them with paper. 

April 22. — We traverse several short passes marked by obos, 
from which protrude branches tied up in bundles. We mount to 
a height of 16,500 feet, then descend, to mount again to a 
height of 15,500 feet; then there come passes of only 13,900 feet, 
and 14,900 feet. Now and again we see houses and tents on the 
plateau ; around us is the fresh grass ; and our temperature at 
night varies from 7° to 25° below zero. 

April 23. — A pretty steep pass takes us up^to a height of 




15,000 feet, and then comes a descent into a narrow gorge 
rendered very picturesque by rocks, gradually broadening into a 
valley, while on the terraces above its perpendicular banks are 
numerous flat-roofed habitations with grey walls varying in height. 



I S 

r I*. - 

^^~ < 

f? : 


A large square building which frowns down upon them in the 
distance gives these houses the appearance of forts surmounted by 
a tower, such as are found in Tuscany. 

Just as we were about to leave the valley, our old friend the 
idiot with the looking-glass rushed forward, and explained to us, 
with great volubility and gesticulations, that we were to halt 
on the plateau : " A grand chief, a very good fellow, is expecting 
you. I have told him that you are honest, kind men, and 
that you must make each other's acquaintance, and drink a 
glass of ichang together ; you will find it excellent." We had 
no sooner reached the platform, which borders a river of consider- 
able width, than we ^saw a number of natives who seemed to be 
expecting u% Several of them came forward, and, politely 


taking our horses by their bridles, conducted us to this great 
chief, who was one of the stoutest, if not the very stoutest, 
of Thibetans that we had ever seen — quite a A^itellius. Tn 
spite, or perhaps because of, his rotundity, he was very amiable, 
shaking our hands most cordially, and begging us to honour him 
by taking a seat on his rug. On each side of him was a 
lama, one with a head like an actor, the other with that of 
a faun. He himself carried on his bull-neck a splendid, well- 
shaped head — the head of a savage monarch, with hair hanging 
down his back. This specimen of a thick-set Goliath insisted 
on our tasting the contents of three iron bottles, cased in 
tin, of Chinese make, judging by their shape; on the liquid, lumps 
of butter were floating, having been added to the decoction out of 
compliment to us. From its flavour, this tcltang must be made from 
fermented barley, and at first we did not think much of it, but 
after a while we rather took to it, and gave it the high-sounding 
name of hydromel. It seems very mild, but if you drink too much 
of it you run the risk of becoming " dead drunk." Our host re- 
quested permission to look at our firearms and glasses, and his 
stupefaction was extreme when he saw the dust fly, a thousand 
paces off, where a ball had struck a heap of rubbish on a rock ; his 
companions sharing his astonishment, and expressing their ad- 
miration in most emphatic terms. When we rose to leave, the fat 
chief and all his followers insisted on conducting us, so they 
brought him a splendid mule, which, in spite of his weight, he 
mounted unaided ; and so we started. Having crossed the river, 
our crowd of followers on foot tucking up their clothes and dis- 
playing the sturdy though somewhat long legs of mountaineers, 
we climbed a narrow path on the edge of the chasm, pitching our 
tent near a clump of houses built on the mountain-side. A crowd 
of idlers of both sexes soon surrounded us; the women being very 
ugly, while a few of the young men had rather nice faces. 

To our yak-drivers, and all these spectators who are shouting 


and moving about, two Chinamen with their solemn mien present 
a great contrast. One of them wears a pair of spectacles with 
rims so large that they cover part of his forehead. He is 
smoking a cigar out of a long mouthpiece with a very 
dignified air, one hand in his girdle. The other, whose nose is 
not quite so insolently retroussé, has a less dignified attitude, and 
a humorous smile. They enter at once into conversation with our 
man Akoun, who turns out to come from Ken Si, their native 
province. Chinamen who belong to the same district always 
support each other, and when far from home meet compatriots 
with the greatest pleasure, their provincialism doing duty for 

These two are here to trade, and are the scouts of an army of 
invading merchants. They buy musk chiefly, or rather take it in 
exchange for tea, which they bring from China, a tea of a very 
inferior quality, furnishing, indeed, an execrable drink; yet the 
natives here prefer it to anything else, even to Indian rupees. 
According to these Chinamen, musk is very dear, a good bag 
costing at least twenty rupees. The natives also exchange it 
for tobacco, but only on rare occasions, as the tobacco-leaves, which 
they roll into cigars for themselves, come from Setchoun, and are 
very expensive. 

According to what the elder and graver of the Chinamen tells 
us, they are both representatives of a large house, whose head- 
quarters are at Shanghai. " My companion," he says, " was a 
soldier, and has travelled in the direction of Yunnan. I am going 
away from here in three hours, but he will remain, as he has 
come to take my place. My residence here has lasted eighteen 
months, and it will procure me, on my return home, the post of 
manager of one of the shops belonging to our house. Oh ! you 
might be kind enough to let me have one of your horses. I 
noticed that one of them is lame ; let me have it, and I will soon 
set it to rights. I should be very glad of it, for I want it badly." 


" What do you want it for ? " 

" Because, you see, I have a little daughter whom I wish to 
take away with me, and I could put her on your horse." 

" Are you not taking the child's mother, too ? " 

" No, for I am not married." 

Thereupon his comjDanion, the old soldier, also unbosoms 
himself to us. "I only arrived here three moons ago, and it 
already seems a very long time to me. I don't like being here at 
all, and I shall never be able to take to these savages or learn 
their language." He calls our attention to their dirt, though 
that does not prevent him from leering at some fearful -looking 
women. He is evidently a " lady's man," but, as he himself 
remarks, they are not by any means coy ; they are indeed devoid 
of all sense of modesty or even of decency. 

The poorer women adorn themselves with, copper bracelets and 
earrings, the rich have silver ones. Many of them wear glass 
necklaces which they buy from the Chinamen, and stones among 
which agates predominate. They also insert these stones and 
glass trinkets in their abundant locks, which fall like a fan down 
their backs. Most of the women whom we see here have small 
dark eyes, black hair, broad faces, and prominent cheekbones ; 
they are stout and short, but very strong and muscular. We 
are in a land where the system not only of " wives many," but 
also of " husbands many " prevails. This is how the latter 
mode works. A couple have a marriageable daughter ; a man is 
anxious to enter into this family, live under the same roof, and 
become the husband of the girl. He therefore visits her parents, 
states the terms he is jn'epared to offer, and when this dowry — 
or, rather, this charge for admission — is settled, becomes her 
husband and a member of the family. Other young men, de- 
sirous of sharing his happiness, present themselves, knock at the 
door, and, if terms can be arranged, take their place, too, around 
the family hearth, thus becoming members of the household and 



co-husbands. Sometimes, but very rarely, it happens that one of 
the husbands, through love or jealousy, or from some other motive, 
wishes to become the sole proprietor, the sole lord of the wife. 


In this case terms are arranged by which he becomes her 
sole master, and his colleagues obligingly retire, when he has 
repaid them the sum they brought on entering the association, 
plus an indemnity, the amount of which is only settled after a 


long wrangle. If there are any children, they remain with the 

It must not be imagined that this system prevails by law or 
by any religious custom having the force of a law. In Thibet poly- 
andry is not obligatory, as monogamy is with us. If his means 
admit of such a luxury, a man^takes a wife to himself and does 
not share her with others. And if a powerful, rich chief, 
like the great man who welcomed us this morning, is not 
content with one wife, he takes as many as he likes. Our 
Goliath, for instance, has three, so that this country furnishes a 
proof, as do other countries, that polyandry and polygamy are 
determined by economic considerations. 

Let me give another fact in support of this view. A married 
man gives up his wife, and restores her to her family, when he 
finds " double harness " too galling. He can, if he chooses, 
enter a lama-house, a favour, however, that is granted him only 
in return for a certain sum paid down into the prior's hands. 
On becoming a lama, he is assured against want to the end of 
his days, a sort of life annuity being granted to him in ex- 
change for his capital handed over to the house. His position, 
however, in the community is in proportion to his fortune ; and 
should he be comparatively poor, he must not expect the happy 
and easy lot of the richer lamas, but must work. Even with this 
obligation to work, however, he is relatively happy, since his 
future is secure ; he will never be without a crust to munch, and 
many of the natives are quite content when this much is assured 
to them. 

Here, however, as elsewhere, some women are left unmarried. 
When they cannot find a purchaser their only resource is to take 
to begging ; they soon meet with others in the same plight, with 
whom they join their fortunes, and they then wander about among' 
tents and villages with wallets on their backs, and long sticks in 
their hands to repel the dogs. Sometimes they join a body of 


male beggars, when each sex begs for itself by day, and they 
only meet at night. 

If it be asked, " When a woman has, say, four husbands, how 
can they possibly agree amongst themselves ?" I can only assert 
that they do agree. They all, indeed, join hands against the 
wife. They vie with one another in getting as much work out of 
her as they possibly can. She it is who leads the yaks yoked to 
the plough, or, bare to the waist, brandishes a mallet as she breaks 
the clods ; before sunset she hastens to the fields to collect fuel 
for the evening meal, and sometimes has to go, with her basket 
on her back, to the summit of the mountains, along the slopes, 
to gather it. If the stones in the walls that protect the culti- 
vated lands fall down, she has to put them back again ; it is 
she, too, who removes the stones turned up by the plough ; 
she spins and sews, and attends to the heads of young and old ; 
goes to the river for water, and, bending double on the steep path, 
returns laboriously with her jars full ; while finally, when beasts 
of burden run short, or these " gentlemen " think a load too 
heavy for their little horses, they quietly put it on a woman's 
back. The women belonging to the nomads, however, are not so 
overdone with work as the wives of the husbandmen. 

As for the men, they plough, sow, shoot, drive the yaks, and, 
with the help of their women, load them, but their chief occupa- 
tion consists in smoking their pipes while waiting for the harvest. 

All, however, women as well as men, seem quite contented 
with their lot, and gaiety reigns supreme. Every time they see 
us performing our ablutions they gape with astonishment. Our 
matches, too, fill them with amazement when they see them 
light from friction. Several of them rush to pick up those we 
have thrown away after using them, or because they would not 
strike. Then they rub them, just as they have seen us doing, 
on a stone or on their sleeves, and are crestfallen because they 
cannot produce the desired effect. 


In the evening I took a walk in the direction of a large oho 
piled up at the bottom of a terrace where the chief of the district 
has built his palace. I found him before his door, sitting cross- 
legged on a mat in a very dignified position, and turning his 
prayer-mill. The suspicion of a beard and of a small black 
moustache, and his hair, which falls down only to his shoulders, 
make him the type of a Grallic chief as represented to us in 
pictures. Chained up in his }'ard are two splendid black dogs 
with red paws, enormous beasts with heads like bears, that bark 
furiously when an} T one approaches. 

The dwelling-house comprises the floor above the stables, and 
is reached by stairs, or rather by a trunk of a tree hewn into the shape 
of stairs. Between the first floor and the stables is a platform, on 
the walls of which hang fox, wolf, and panther skins. Women 
are attending to their household duties, while their lord and 
master is enjoying the fresh air. While I am examining some 
engraved stones, I am joined hy a young lama, whose hooked 
nose, energetic features, and quick eye, had already struck me. 
He presents me with several stones, saying, " I engraved the 
prayers on them." I compliment him on his talent, and express 
a wish to carry away with me some specimens of his skill, where- 
upon he shows himself disposed to fall in with my request, and 
taking my note-book, which I hand him, copies into it some of the 

We were soon surrounded by idlers, and among them were 
some lamas who read aloud over his shoulder the formulae which 
he was copying for me. Then one of them, to whom I remarked 
that the words were very beautiful, put a question to me, folding 
his hands in the attitude of prayer, affecting to turn his prayer- 
mill to the right, and pointing to the south and to the lama's 
house on the other side of the valley opposite to us. He next 
pretended to turn a prayer-mill to the left, and pointed to the 
west, namely, the direction of Lhassa. He was doubtless putting 



to me a question in theology, or perhaps he wanted to know my 
opinion on Buddhism. Being an old hand at this kind of thing, 
I pointed to the west and turned my imaginary mill from right to 


left, and, lifting my thumb, expressed my approbation of this 
latter kind of exercise. It so happened that I was of the scribe's 
opinion, for he congratulated me, repeating with manifest satis- 
faction, " "Well, very well ! " 

After that he made some jocose remark to my questioner, who 


is doubtless an innovator or schismatic of some kind. He lias, 
however, 'a good round head, and a benevolent face, which does not 
look as though it belonged to a revolutionist. With a firm hand 
the artist wrote the " Om mané Paclmé houm," then " Orne ma té 
me ie sa le deu," and then other syllables, the significance of which 
I will not undertake to furnish. It is, however, to be supposed 
that they have a meaning, and that they are efficacious, since 
they are everywhere chiselled on stones, chalked on mountain- 
sides, traced on the shingle of the river, printed on the stuffs, or 
cut on bits of wood, and even on the animals' horns when other 
material fails. In reward for his kindness I handed the scribe 
the pencil he had been using. As he had picked up all the bits 
of old paper that we had thrown away, he drew out of his pocket 
a bit of an old cardboard box, and had a hard tussle with the 
point of the pencil, writing in cursive characters, and drawing- 
ornaments, a hand, a bird that looks like an indiscriminate 
specimen of a domestic fowl, and finally my portrait, consisting 
of a very short profile, with what was meant for a nose, an eye 
like that of an Egyptian, narrow forehead, and a beard such as 
you see on Assyrian bas-reliefs. 

The likeness was not satisfactory, but I, in turn, executed his 
portrait, reproducing his aquiline nose and advancing chin. It 
really was recognisable ; at all events, he was so pleased with it 
that, when he asked to be allowed to retain this masterpiece, I 
consented, and he took his departure surrounded by his friends, 
who, on comparing the drawing with its original, raised their 
thumbs to compliment me on my talent. 

April 24. — To-day we left Séresumdo, although we had been 
very comfortable there. Before starting, the chief offered us 
several bottles of tcliang, which we emptied, making a merry start, 
accompanied by most of the villagers. 

The valley that we now ascend is well cultivated, with 
numerous hamlets in it, and large farms where all the members of 


a family are crowded together. The ruins of habitations sur- 
mounted by lofty towers are not rare. We could not find out 
whether these despoèladas were due to war, depopulation, or 
removals. Built on elevated platforms, bathed in the sunshine, 
and standing out against the blue sky, these towers have an im- 
posing aspect, and give to the ruins the appearance of fortified 
castles. The buildings correspond in style with those I have seen 
on the Himalayas, in the Tchatral, and at Grahkoush, for instance. 
There are resemblances, also, between the natives of these two 
regions — the same long- hair, the same svstem of one wife to 
several husbands, the same easy carrying of heavy loads, and, 
finally, the same lightheartedness. 

After advancing for an hour and a quarter, we halted at a 
small village to change porters. From the moment of our arrival 
the chief from Sérésumdo, who had accompanied us, sat apart 
to show that he does not exercise any authority here, and that he 
will not interfere in his neighbours' concerns. These little 
potentates are, in fact, very jealous of their authority. The chief, 
who is recognisable by his yellow, pointed hat, marches up and 
down, and issues his orders, his men forthwith setting out in 
every direction, shouting, calling, and answering one another till 
the mountain echoes back the noise. They bring up beasts of 
burden of every sort, size, and colour, male and female. One 
drags a donkey by its ear, another a yak by a cord or by its horn, 
others chase horses, an old woman hurries on her cow, and some 
young men drive-in oxen at a gallop ; all these make up a large 
herd, and they add their lowing, grunting, or neighing to the 
hubbub, which was bad enough before. When it comes to 
starting, and dividing the loads, there is a general scramble for 
the lightest objects, men and women, old men and children, all 
taking part in it, and all arguing. They weigh the chests and 
the bundles, and all want to get out of taking them. One pretends 
that his ass is so miserably small ; another, that he cannot saddle 


his horse because it is too spirited ; another, that his yak has 
only just come in, tired out from ploughing ; and as for our wild- 
yak skin, destined for the Museum, they are so frightened at 
its weight that no one will have anything to do with it. Every- 
body is crying out, everyone issuing orders, down to boys of 
twelve, while, amid all the tumult, some sanctimonious old lamas, 
quite indifferent to it, quietly turn their mills or tell their beads. 
But this does not prevent them from examining us and stroking 
our velveteens, which are a puzzle to them ; as they feel 
them, they remark to each other, " It is not leather," and they 
cannot get over their surprise. The shouting and laughing are 
enough to deafen one. Soon the din is at its height, thanks 
to the arrival of two mendicant lamas singing, the one in a 
marvellously hollow voice, the other in tones first sharp and then 
rough. They accompany their song with a double tambourine, 
which they beat till the little leather tassels flutter at the end of 
the thongs attached to the instrument. Besides this, they every 
now and then blow into human thigh-bones with leather bags at 
the end, from which most disagreeable wheezing noises proceed. 
Both of the men are bare-headed, and clad in yellow ; the elder 
one's face is completely smooth ; the other is bald, his nose is 
short, his teeth are excellent, and he possesses just a large enough 
fringe of beard to make him the image of a good-natured gorilla. 
The scene is a picturesque one, and it would probably be going 
on still if the chief, tired of arguing with his subjects, had not 
suggested to them that they should decide by lot who should 
take such and such a load. Men and women accordingly hand 
to an old man one of the garters with which they fasten up 
their stuff boots above the calf. These form the numbers of the 
lottery, and the old man proceeds to draw them with the 
utmost impartiality. He first places himself at one end of 
the row of packages, and, following it down to the other end, 
puts upon each of them one of the garters which he takes 


at haphazard out of his left hand, kept behind his back. Two 
sturdy fellows having voluntarily seized the heaviest chests, the 
crowd straightway lays hold of all that is left, and our baggage 
is soon carried off. 

Everyone wishes to join in this pleasure party, poor as 
well as rich, the women more especially ; and the exodus takes 
place in great disorder, while those who carry small loads, or 
none at all, run about, jumping round the beasts, laughing, 
chattering, and shoutiug ; never, in short, did a " removal " take 
place amid greater merriment. 

In our turn we followed this rabble, after having given a 
consultation to one of the mendicant lamas, who had an eye 
covered with a white film. On the way we noticed that our 
yak-skin, which, at starting, had been put on a young horse, 
had found its way to the shoulders of a woman, so important is it 
that the back of the noblest conquest that man has ever 
made should not be made sore. In spite of the impos- 
sibility of overlooking our porters, we found in the evening 
that nothing was missing. 

Scarcely was our tent pitched, when our Chinaman was 
greeted by a Thibetan with an intelligent face, who could 
speak a few words of Chinese. He represented that he came 
from Lhassa, and that he was there while we were at Dam, 
for the rumour of our arrival had spread in the town. He 
had three other companions, one of them a girl, and they 
had been travelling for a year. Setting out from Tatsien-Lou, 
whither they were now returning, they passed Tsiamdo, and 
then went straight to Lhassa, to pray and receive the blessing 
of the Talai-Lama. 

"And did you receive it?" 

" Oh, yes ! we were blessed, and are now happy. As soon 
as we have reached home again, my sister is going to marry 
the elder of these two young men." 


"And who is the other?" 

" The brother of her future husband." 

"Your brother-in-law is very young." 


" And your sister ? " 


" What induced you to undertake this long journey ? " 

" We had long talked about it between us, and then, 
when we had made up our minds, we set out with a little 
money. Now, however, we have none left, and are begging 
our way back." 

" Do you expect to reach Tatsien-Lou soon ? " 

" We hope so, but cannot say when." 

In Europe the honeymoon trip is made after marriage ; in 
Thibet they take it at betrothal. I will not presume to decide 
which of the two plans is the better. 

In front of our encampment, on a plateau to the south, 
stretch the white walls of a lama's house, from which the 
descent is made by an abrupt path cut in the high bank of 
the river. The two banks are not connected by any bridge, 
and those who would cross must do so at a ford, or make use 
of a cable stretched above the water from side to side. 

On going to examine this system of aerial gymnastics, we 
were lucky enough to see it work several times The person 
who crosses encircles his body with short leather thongs attached 
to a strong horn hook, which is fixed over the stomach. Then 
with the ends of these thongs he forms two rings, which are 
passed round the thighs, hangs the hook on to the rope, with 
the heads in the direction he is going, and holding on by 
his wrist, is soon suspended, face uppermost and back parallel 
to the river, when he soon twists himself over to the other 
side. Several natives who crossed to have a look at us re- 
turned in this manner ; each had his straps and his hook, 


while those who felt their strength going nerved themselves by 
shouting, and pressed the cord with their feet, besides pushing 
themselves along by stretching their legs. Some of them 
displayed great strength in this exercise, and when hanging in 
mid-air over the river which was roaring beneath them, would 
give vent to shouts of joy or defiance. 

In the evening three Thibetans came and took a seat round 
our fire, one of them twanging a guitar as an accompaniment to 
a song which, though monotonous, was not disagreeable. The 
following evening, when the beasts were being loaded, they re- 
appeared in their smartest costume, having tucked their trousers 
into their boots, and put on a red dress with tassels hanging 
down from their girdles. 

These men are dancers or tumblers. Winding round in a circle, 
they mark time with small cymbals and a drum, which they hold 
like a hand-glass and strike with a bent stick, with a leather 
puff at the end. They make a few grimaces, bend the body, and 
then with great agility turn clean over. As a climax, one who 
remained on the scene last added to his disguise a horrible-looking 
mask, ornamented with white shells, and performed a series of leaps 
and somersaults, which he made more dangerous by holding close 
to his eyes the points of very sharp knives. 

April 25. — We mounted up as far as Tachiline, crossing to the 
left bank of the river by a wooden bridge. The piles are square 
towers, constructed of small beams, and the interiors filled with 
stones. On the top of these piles long oak beams are put, fixed 
with ropes to cross-beams, and having stones on the ends to 
keep them in position, and, perhaps, to maintain the equi- 

Here we had to consult the chiefs of the district about 
obtaining yaks for the next stage, which is a long one, begin- 
ning with a pass, and continuing through a desert, so we were 
asked to start early. The head of the lama-house helped us, and 


half our band for the morrow will consist of lamas. There are 
two hundred of them here, living in a row of huts so out of 
repair that we can only conclude it is a poor district — and, in 
fact, the natives cultivate very little ground, and are smaller 
and worse off than those who live lower down. In ten hours 
we reached Tchimbo-Tinzi, a large village with a lama community 
numbering a thousand inhabitants. It is perched on an isolated 
shelving road, and bordered on the south by the river, which buries 
itself in a ravine, to the north being a valley which supports the 
whole population. 

The chief is at variance with a neighbour, who wishes to take 
advantage of his minority to invade his territories. But though 
the young chief, by the advice of the old men, resists, he will one 
day succumb, for the Chinese authorities at Tsiamdo have been 
subsidised by the ambitious chief of Tchimbo-Nara, and they will 
interfere in his favour with a view to weakening the power of our 

April 26. — We saw the ambitious chief to-day. We had, 
however, to wait a very long time for him in the valley, his village 
being perched high up like an eagle's nest, and he himself being 
quite tipsy. As soon as he had recovered the use of his legs, he 
descended .from his eyrie. He proved to be an enormous fellow, 
with grey eyes ; but was pleasant in his cups, giving his orders 
with great decision, and setting everybody to work. The required 
number of yaks were soon got together, the great chief spending 
his leisure moments in drinking astride across a bale, looking like 
a clumsy Silenus. Every now and then there issued from his 
ponderous bosom shouts with which the whole valley resounded, 
and which were the outcome of his great animal spirits. We left 
him with mutual expressions of goodwill, after having bought 
a sheep from him for two shillings. 

Hamlets and farms abound hereabouts, built of rough stones, 
the terraces and roofs resting on trunks of trees. We are still in 







v ^ .' ; -.-'.Cir: 




a wild district, but the natives live in houses, and there are signs 
of the early stage of civilisation. They till their land better, 
and manure their fields, they wear stuff clothes, and nearly all 
their women adorn themselves with glass trinkets ; their hair is 
shorter, and they often wear it level with the shoulder, while the 
women cut theirs over their forehead into a fringe, and do not 
wear it down their backs in little plaits. Armed men are much 
rarer, as if there were greater security than in the districts situated 
to the west. 

To-day, after having, by a mistake, left the banks of the 
river, we followed a path which led us to a farm, where we came 
across a scene of Thibetan home life. In the yard, a man, bare 
to the waist, is skinning a sheep on the ground ; a child of eight 
or nine is holding it by the paws, and, as he bends down, his head 
is completely hidden by his falling hair. The dogs are eagerly 
awaiting the moment when the uneatable portions will be flung to 
them. Seated on a stone and leaning against the wall, a hand- 
some young woman, with bare neck and chest, is holding a 
distaff and spinning, in a calm attitude ; at her feet is a little 
girl, drawing out the wool. A man seated at her side is con- 
versing smilingly with her ; another, with bare body, who is 
sharpening a blade on a stone, has his arms stretched out in the 
pose of the antique knife-grinder to be seen at Florence. A 
plump little girl is playing with a puppy which has about as 
much clothing as herself. Lower down, out in the sunshine, an 
old woman, with her short white hair all in disorder, is lolling 
over a few cinders, enjoying the short span of life that remains 
to her. By her side sleeps a very old dog, toothless and mangy, 
his muzzle resting on his wasted old paws ; like his mistress, 
he awaits death with the blue sky above him. 

At Gratou we found ourselves amongst very unsociable people, 
from whom it seemed utterly impossible to purchase even a goat 
or a sheep. We now regretted that we had no dogs ; for we left 


one behind ns, a second was killed, while the third, a good watch- 
dog, has not been trained to catch and strangle sheep and goats, 
as the one that is dead had. As we could not induce these 
people to listen to reason — though a Mongolian lama, who joined 
us a few days ago and acts as our interpreter, tried in vain to 
persuade them to furnish us with meat — we attempted to seize 
some without permission. This brought upon Dedeken and 
Rachmed a shower of stones, and there were a few sharp-shooters 
posted on the roofs. A few revolver shots in the air, however, 
settled the matter. 

It has often been, and doubtless often will be, our fate to have 
difficulties with these Thibetans. They have never seen any 
Europeans before, and do not know how to treat us ; while, fickle 
to an extraordinary extent, a mere nothing changes their attitude. 
They shift from the most abject submission to the most audacious 
insolence ; one moment with their foreheads on the ground, the 
next they are standing erect, sword in hand. It would seem as 
though fear were at the bottom of all their emotions. One alarm 
sets them in one direction, then another cause of fear sets them 
off in another, and so their feeble will vacillates, shifting like a 
needle between two poles. They prefer before everything else 
relaxation and sleep ; and whether in order to be left quiet, 
or because they are put out with those who disturb them, 
they have outbursts of passion, like the man who killed the wolf 
by day because it frightened him by night. 

Their heads must be crammed with superstition, for it would 
seem as though they regarded strangers as mysterious beings, 
whom it is imperative to distrust, for to have come from afar 
they must have used witchcraft. Having noticed that these 
savages welcome the gift of a coloured image, Ave distributed some 
among them at different times. A boy of fourteen or fifteen 
having approached us, I offered him one, with the result that 
he ran away. So I let it drop on the ground, whereupon he 


went up to it with great precaution, looking at it from a distance, 
but, when the colours caught his eye, drawing nearer to examine 
it. Then he again retreated, but his curiosity brought him 
back again, and he beckoned to an older lad. The latter, in 
turn, examined this curious object, bending down and picking 
it up, and then ran after me, with a view to handing it back. 
When I told him to keep it, he was delighted, but a lama, about 
twenty years old, then came up and spoke to him sharply as 
though to inspire him with disgust at his present. They con- 
sulted together for a moment, after which they proceeded to the 
stream, and left the image there. 

By the evening the inhabitants had calmed down, and eagerly 
implored our Mongolian lama not to fulfil his threat to go to the 
lama-house to complain of having been struck. 

April 28. — At early dawn the natives began to get ready for 
us all that we wanted, and a mere glance sufficed to put to flight 
the chief of those who gave us so much trouble yesterday. At 
Karimeta we pitch our tents at the doors of an extensive lama- 
house, and witness a curious sight. The lamas have engaged 
the women of the neighbouring villages to come and carry manure 
to their fields, for this red-soiled valley is carefully cultivated, and 
most of it belongs to them. They have just finished ploughing, 
and the soil has the pink tinge of flesh from which the outer 
skin has been peeled off. "While the lamas, on the first floor of 
their monastery, are chanting their prayers to an accompaniment 
of tambourines and cymbals, more than fifty women are wending 
their way in and out from the stables to the fields, with osier 
baskets on their backs. These they fill with ashes and manure, 
and then, in single file, like ants carrying their provender, 
proceed to empty them, at the foot of a hill, in the newly 
ploughed furrows. There is very little method and a good deal 
of noise over the work, which is superintended by a lame lama, 
who has frequently to hasten the steps of these ladies, for they 


are so interested in us that they keep edging out of their path so 
as to get nearer to us, when they stop for a good look and 
chatter. But though he feels the responsibility of his post, the 
lame lama is not a whit less curious than they, and he, too, 
even while on the move, must look at us. This strong desire of his 
to do two things at a time affords us considerable amusement, 
for as one of his legs is much shorter than the other, he has to 
look at the ground each time he puts his foot down, but, in 
his anxiety to watch us, he then turns his head in our direction. 
As he goes through his various manoeuvres, he looks exactly 
like a mechanical toy ; marching along, telling the beads of a 
huge rosary, jerking forward his short leg, lowering and then 
raising his head, twisting it to the right, leaning to the left, crying 
" Forward ! " to his workwomen, then hurriedly throwing out his 
arms to recover the equilibrium which he has lost by stumbling 
against a stone, shouting out again, and, in a word, tossing him- 
self about in the most comical manner imaginable. 

Among our female coolies is one whose close-shaven head 
indicates that she has renounced marriage and taken the vow of 
celibacy; she is a lamaess. Neither handsome nor pretty, very 
short and thick-set, she has a large head and brutish features ; and 
there is not a spark of intelligence in her face. The crowd of 
basket-carriers arrives, chattering in the pleasing tones which 
come as such a surprise from such ugly throats ; for these 
Thibetans are apes with the voices of nightingales. All of a 
sudden our lamaess runs towards the file of fuel-gatherers, and 
goes straight up to a friend of hers, another close-shaven lamaess. 
They smile and bow to each other until their foreheads touch, in 
the same manner that two goats butt each other, after which 
these two schoolfellows go along side by side gossiping. 

Examining the house of the lamas, which, like all of 
its kind, is composed of cottages and small rooms in juxta- 
position, with a large hall set apart for their idol and for 


worship, we observe their agricultural implements. First, there 
is a rake, made, like our mill-rakes, of a little board, shaped like a 
crescent, with a handle ; then there is a pickaxe, consisting of a 
wooden cube, which is cut down to a point. The point is shod 
with an iron cone ; and as that metal is scarce hereabouts, it is 
used sparingly. Another kind of pickaxe resembles that which 
we use for gardening, but the edge only is made of iron, the rest 
being of wood ; and it has a long handle. 

A layman is putting a thatch of barley-straw on the roofs of 
the cottages by means of a kind of double flail consisting of two 
switches, which are fastened together by a strap fixed to a handle. 
These switches serve to cut the straw into short bits, for it is not 
given to the cattle until it has undergone this preparation. 
Let me add that the people of Thibet are more careful about 
their cattle than about themselves. The horses, as well as the 
yaks which carry our baggage, are well treated, and fed in a very 
peculiar manner, with a kind of pap made with the niouma (a 
species of turnip), this food being put down their throats by 
means of a funnel made from a horn that has been hollowed out. 

On the roof of this habitation of the lamas are windmills 
turning prayers, and likewise tridents of metal, which have led 
people to believe that Lamaism was derived from the worship of 
Neptune, the ruler of the waves. The little column supporting 
this trident is covered with stripes of black and white stuff. We 
also see a big T, surmounted by a crescent bearing on the concave 
side two spheres, placed one above the other. At one extremity 
of the bar of the T hangs a little bell. 

At Karimeta we arranged, without much trouble, for our 
baggage to be carried to Tchoungo, which is situated above the 
river Tatchou. Tchoungo is a village of some importance, owing 
its reputation to the possession of an enormous obo, to walk round 
which at an ordinary pace takes three minutes. It is close to the 
house of a lama who is, so to speak, its guardian, and natives 


from the mountains are incessantly turning prayers around this 
pile, which they are careful to keep on their right side. Even 
very old people drag themselves slowly up to it, leaning on their 
crutches, in order to accomplish their devotions. 

The weather is magnificent, and we have got down to 9,000 
feet above sea-level, and at last are enjoying a summer tempera- 
ture. The thermometer shows a maximum of 77° in the day- 
time, and at night it only goes as low as 20°. 

After some difficulties with the authorities, whom we induced 
by threats to help us, we departed for the great lama settlement 
of Eoutchi. At first we ascended rising ground by following 
a picturesque gorge ; in two hours reaching a smooth pass, 
upwards of 13,200 feet above the sea-level. It was a lovely 
bit of scenery; rocks, juniper trees, briars, rhododendrons, 
brush, and groves of fir-trees. On the steep bank of the river 
are some grottoes into which the water flows, while gigantic 
umbelliferous plants with stalks as thick as a man's wrist are 
numerous, and there were plenty of sparrows, curlews, and 

May 7. — After a good night's rest we resumed our ascent on 
the 30th, and in two and a half hours arrived at the summit of 
the Dâla pass, 17,500 feet above the sea-level; while towards 
the south-west a great mountain chain with snow-covered peaks, 
from 19,800 to 21,500 feet high, is visible. Towards the north 
the mountains rise in terraces, undulating as far as the eye can 
see ; they are of a greyish colour and free from snow. The 
general appearance suggests an ocean with its waves turned into 
stone — the long swell of a calm sea, as sailors call it. 

The descent, or rather the " slide-down " on the snow, brought 
us once more to the desert, the slopes being bare, with here and 
there a few stunted junipers. In the valley of Dutchmé we 
found some tents pitched, and had to wait a whole day for a fresh 
relay of yaks, which had to be fetched from some distance. We 



A PAGODA. 147 

then followed the course of the rivers Détchou and Sétchou, 
and passing along the banks of the latter, traversed forests of fir 
trees. Piles of sjjlit wood were lying about, and we had some 
good sport with musk-deer and crossoptilons, a kind of white or 
slate-coloured pheasant, with which these woods swarm. 

Then, when the Sétchou entered a gorge, we made for 
another pass, viz., the Djala, which is the name also of the 
whole mountain range. The Djala is 14,850 feet high ; a stony- 
path leads to the oôo, near which we halted to give our cattle 
a rest. From this point the eye ranged over the finest bit of 
country that we had seen so far : the slopes at our feet were 
covered with fir trees, rhododendrons, and junipers of intense 
green ; while higher up were grassy tablelands, dotted with herds 
of cattle, and near the crest, in the crannies, the snow was of a 
dazzling whiteness. It was not, however, nature which especi- 
ally attracted our attention, but a piece of man's handiwork in the 
form of a pagoda. No better spot could have been found for 
this pagoda, built in a large square, rising in terraces, and serving, 
so to speak, as a pedestal for the column which towers like a 
golden flame towards the skies. Having lived, as we had done, 
for several months without seeing anything resembling a monu- 
ment, we could easily imagine with what feelings the sight of 
such an edifice must inspire the uncivilised Thibetan, and what a 
grand notion he must form of the great lama who dwells in it. 
Now one can comprehend how great an influence architecture 
must exert upon the minds of men. It is evident that the 
Pharaohs, by placing their pyramids in the desert where they 
appear so huge, did not intend to keep the sands in their place, 
but to inspire mankind with respect and even adoration for those 
who had the power to raise up a mountain in the midst of grains 
of sand. Certain it is that the Thibetans have a profound 
veneration for this abode of the Talai-Lama. Do they see a 
symbol in the seven double stripes, painted in white upon the 


black walls of the edifice? Do they think at all, as they con- 
template this pyramid, which seems to be made of gold and to 
terminate in a flame mingling with the skies ? Do they see in 
that flame an allusion to the great soul that, according to 
Buddhism, permeates nature ? Perhaps not ; yet it cannot be 
doubted that the sight fills them with a mysterious awe. 

By the side of the beautiful pagoda, which is reached by a 
wooden bridge, may be seen a lama-house, nestling against the 
mountain-side, with its many terraces of painted cottages. The 
village of the laymen is lower down ; its low, box-like houses 
with flat roofs are crowded together in the peninsula of Routchi, 
which is washed by the river to the south, while breakwaters, 
formed by dovetailing the trunks of trees together, protect the 
banks from the current. In the village, yaks pass to and fro, 
dragging the stems of fir trees ; for there is a considerable timber 
trade, from which the wealth of the lama-house is chiefly derived. 

Leaving the village, we pass cows in the green meadows, and 
yaks wallowing in the ponds ; the trees, as they are rolled down 
into the valley, make a noise like thunder. The path dips into 
the deep shade of the firs, the wind is gently swaying the slender 
twigs and sighing through the branches ; the torrent-like Sétchou 
is beating against its steep banks. We have assuredly been 
transported into Switzerland, if not into the Himalayas. 

The country is rich, compared with what we have seen 
before. The fields are protected by hedges made of interlaced fir 
branches ; pieces of timber, fixed in the ground, enclose the 
pasture-lands where browse the herds which manure the soil, and 
where the sheep and goats are shut up on account of their de- 
structive tendencies. Precautions are necessary, for the barley is 
showing its green blades, and the people are therefore repairing 
the hedges, or making new ones with green branches. These 
green branches will get dry, and in winter, when the ground is 
covered with snow instead of crops, will be used for firewood. 


The houses are nearly always built in one style, with walls made 
of clods of earth and stones mixed, and flat roofs placed on 
branches. They are, however, surmounted by lattice-work for 
storing the fodder, which makes them look like buildings that 
have been abandoned when the first storey was being begun, and 
the scaffolding of which has been left standing. 

To-day (the 7th) we reached Houmda, a village built on a 
shelving road made out of conglomerate, skirted on the eastern side 
by a torrent that empties itself into the Sétchou about 450 yards 
farther on. We found stationed there, on post and police duty, 
a company of Chinese soldiers, more or less stupefied by the use 
of opium. They sold us eggs at as high a price as they could 
extort from us, and were excessively polite. Most of them 
had been there for many years, and, having married Thibetan 
wives, had forgotten their own language. To their police duties 
they pay but very little attention, and brigands, if there are 
any, can carry on their operations with perfect security. In 
their exorbitant demands these Chinamen display an obsequious- 
ness and a persistency that contrast greatly with the churlishness 
of many of the natives. 

From Houmda the road would have taken us eastwards by 
Tsiamdo. On reflection we determined to avoid this populous 
town, which contains many Chinamen under the rule of a man- 
darin, for it would be difficult to get away if this official of 
the Celestial Empire should take it into his head to prove his 
power. Prudence, therefore, bids us make a détour over the moun- 
tains towards the north. 

May 8. — To-day we visited Lagoun, a large industrial centre. 
The houses lie very near each other, and, after counting a 
score of them, we observed an unoccupied space, a sort of 
square on which wood was piled up. Then we entered into the 
chief's yard, where we were stared at by a number of idlers, 
amongst them several whose faces were blackened by smoke. 


These were "hands" from the works, for Lagoun has a manu- 
factory of all sorts of iron implements, hatchets, pickaxes, etc. 

We visit this establishment, guided to it by the sound of 
hammers, to which we have long been strangers. By a low door 
we descend to an underground forge, four posts supporting the 
sloping roof by which the light enters and the smoke escapes. 
Someone is kneeling between two goatskin bellows which he 
works alternately with either arm. This old man is bare to the 
waist, and looks like a denizen of the lower regions. His body is 
almost transparent, his skin but parchment, his ribs protruding ; 
while his head is like that of a corpse, and one long tooth is visible 
in his huge mouth. His scanty hairs drop like a mane, while 
from the shoulders hang, by way of arms, two fibreless feelers. 
Five or six young men are standing erect, silent, lean, consump- 
tive, blackened, perhaps mummified, for they are motionless and 
speechless. And yet their dull eyes betray the fact that they are 
alive. The old man stops blowing, and, getting up, silently goes 
to a bag, fills a large wooden porringer with zamba, and sits down, 
the younger ones squatting round him, each producing his mug 
from the sheepskin hanging at his loins. The meal having 
been handed round, they pass a huge jug to the old man, who 
pours some water from it into his cup, the others following suit. 
Then, with hollowed hands, as black and as bony as claws, they 
slowly knead their quota, quite silent, and fixing on us six pairs 
of expressionless eyes. 

We give the poor wretches a coin, which the old man takes 
with manifest stupefaction. Who ever gave him a present before ? 
He looks at the rupee, feels it, turns it over, and having satisfied 
himself that it really is silver, casts two glances at his fellow- 
workmen as if to assure them that there is no deceit about it, and 
smiles, and they smile too. Putting down their cups, they thank us 
by raising their thumbs, and then set-to kneading their meal again. 

Their tools are decidedly poor. We see some very short one- 


handed hammers ; some with larger handles, two-handed ones ; 
large shears for one or for two hands ; a trough, hewn out of the 
trunk of a tree contains the water in which they cool the iron ; 
the forge is an earthenware trough in which burns charcoal 
that is enkindled by the bellows. By the side of the forge, half 
buried in the soil, is the trunk of a tree, in the stoutest part of 
which is a large bar of iron which does duty as an anvil. They 
also have boring machines, which consist of two bobbins with an 
interval between them, their one spindle being between two small 
horizontal planks, while the gimlet is beneath in an iron socket. 
These bobbins, of wood, are hollow, being filled with sand and 
filings, which are covered with skin ; the rotary movement is 
produced by means of cross handles fitted to the lower part. 
Such is this den of native industry, the Creusot of Thibet, and its 



' i "X V A. .. . . ' ' 





Lamé — Lamda — Bad Food— Religious Malthusianism — Crossing the Satchou — Capture of a 
New-born Monkey — Koushoune — Ouoshishoune — A Fat Lama — Dzérine — Hassar — 
Thibetans and Chinese : a Contrast — Indefinite Dates — Rough-and- Ready Justice— Dotou 
— A Dignified Chinese Official — A Series of Prayer Mills — Raehmed in Action — The 
Chinese Army — Parting with the Lama Guide — Tsonké — A Secret Christian — The De- 
struction of the Batang Mission — Burial-place of a French Missionary — Reception by the 
Mandarin of Changka — Four Swords for 150 Men. 

May 8. — To-day we reached 
Lamé, a small village where the 
Chinese have a post of soldiers, 
some of whom can scarcely speak 
their mother-tongue. Two Thibetan 
chiefs came in due course to see us, 
and one of them, a fine-looking man 
of about forty, exchanged a few 
words with our lama, and went off 
again at once. 

May 9. — We saw the chief again 
to-day at Lamda, on the banks of 
the Giometchou, the waters of which 
form, with the Satchou and the 
Zetchou, the river of Tchamclo 
which, much lower down, goes by 
The Thibetan chief handed us a 
cata on behalf of his superior at Tsiamdo or Tchamdo, 
and told us we had only to express our wishes for them 
to be gratified. He added that it was difficult to procure 
provisions here, but that in two days' time we should be in 
a better position, and should receive as much rice, mutton, and 
Hour as we required. It is easy to see, by the rapidity with 


the name of the Mekong- 



which his orders are executed, that his authority in this region is 
unquestioned, and it is the first time since leaving So that we 
have found the natives so obedient to orders. 

We reached Lamda over a pass 15,500 feet high, then 
descending through sunlit gorges, where mountain torrents 


bubbled and surged amid pleasant greenery. The heights are 
covered with rhododendrons, but lower down, amid the thickets 
formed of poplar, birch, and cherry-trees, one might fanc}^ oneself 
in Europe. There is plenty of game, too, and we kill some 
splendid ithagines with red tails and green plumage, pheasants, 
etc., our collection being swollen by some new specimen 
every day. 

Jttay 13. — The weather has been magnificent, and on the night 
of the 9th the thermometer did not descend to freezing point. 
Batang is not far off, and the Thibetans are doing their best to 
redeem the promise they made at Dam to help us. 


Nothing is wanting to make our comfort complete but a 
better supply of food, for although we have abundance so far 
as quantity goes, the rice is musty, the butter rank, the flesh 
of the goats execrable, and the pheasants stringy ; only the 
Hodgson partridge being in t\ie least toothsome. What we so long 
for is the day when we shall taste some good meat, vegetables, 
and fruits. Our tent is pitched at a spot which is at less than 
half the altitude of the point from which we started in the 
morning, and I amuse myself by watching a man and woman 
of the Tillage whom we had employed to split some wood and 
fetch water, as they consume the remains of our supper, given 
them by Hachmed. They have taken off the pan in which the 
food was cooked, and the man, plunging the spoon into the mess, 
empties it on to his hand, and then jerks it into his mouth, 
looking at his companion as much as to say, "First-rate!" 
Then they take out the cups they carried in their bundles, fill 
them with rice and meat, and lap these up almost like water. 
They have never had such a good meal before. 

At Lamda the Griometchou is about 150 feet broad, running 
along between rocks with a good deal of noise, and we cross 
it at the bridge of Sougomba, where there is a large dwelling- 
place for lamas built on the hill. If we were to continue 
our journey northwards, we should arrive at Sininfou, but after 
crossing the bridge, we turn round and encamp in a valley running 
down from the east to the Griometchou. Here, also, there is an 
abundance of game, including musk-deer, partridges, pheasants, 
and hares ; and while the eastern slope of the mountains is thickly 
wooded, the western slope is nearly bare. From time to time we 
see hamlets which are rendered habitable by the water from the 
torrents being turned into the fields, through aqueducts hewn 
out of the trunks of trees. The houses are better built, the 
ground-floor, used for housing the stock, being made of stone 
with w r ooden doors, while the walls of the first storey are of mud. 


Above are balustrades which are used as store-places ; while if the 
house is built against a slope, there is often a second storey. 

There are countless obos, and owing to the abundance of grass, 
the flocks and herds are very numerous ; a fat goat or sheep costs 
two rupees. 

We have scaled pass after pass, and to-day (the 13th) traversed 
the Ka-la, which is 15,500 feet high. We notice in this region 
that many of the people have their heads closely shaven, the 
tonsure indicating those who have been made to take a vow 
of celibacy from their childhood. It is said that, in former times, 
young children were offered to Moloch in order to appease him, 
and that they were placed inside his statue, which was then made 
red-hot, in order that he might consume them. Most of the 
males are now consecrated to Buddha, and the youth thus set 
apart do rxot marry, nor do they allow their hair to grow any 
more, and they wear a yellow garter on their leg. Owing to this 
system, families, as a rule, decline in number, and when the 
slightest epidemic occurs, they disappear, much to the satisfac- 
tion of the prolific Chinese. 

This religious Malthusianism is calculated to please econo- 
mists who think that the world is really too small for mankind, 
and that there would soon be no place to lay one's head if people 
multiplied in conformity with the laws of Nature. But if they 
were to visit some of the waste places of the earth, they would 
come to a very different conclusion. 

May 14. — We cross the Satchou with our caravan of thirty- 
three people — including sixteen women, seven men with long hair, 
and ten lamas — upon a raft made out of trunks of trees, this 
raft, which is paddled across by three men, being sixteen feet long 
by ten wide. The Satchou is veiy rapid at this point, running 
at a speed of nearly four miles an hour between high banks, 
and being from 270 to 330 feet broad. On the banks willows 
are growing, while in the woods are wild lilac trees, raspberry 


bushes, and violets. After crossing the Satchou, we do not 
meet nearly so many people suffering from goitre as we had done 
in the villages further west, and the population seems to be 
altogether more vigorous and cheerful, having been put in better 
heart than usual this year by the frequency of the rains. Some 
ill-natured people had announced our coming, and had added that 
we should bring a drought with us. But as we brought rain 
instead, our partisans were triumphant, and we received a very 
friendly greeting. 

May 15. — We left the banks of the river this morning, arid 
penetrated into the pine forests of the mountain-side, our bivouac 
being in a glade near a torrent. The rain is falling in heavy 
showers, but the natives whom we employ to collect wood for 
the fires are young and cheerful, and go to work with a light 
heart, cracking their jokes as unconcernedly as if it were quite 
dry overhead and underfoot. 

From the time of crossing the Satchou we meet with several 
instances of an admixture of Mongolian blood, of which we 
had seen very few cases previously. The people, who have 
broader faces, are not rich, but their country abounds with game, 
and we add several animal specimens to our collection. 

May 17. — We have scaled a pass of nearly 15,000 feet, 
passing bare rocks covered with snow, and assailed by a snow- 
storm, which reminds us that winter is not yet over. Descend- 
ing to Routéoundo we see a lot of monke}^, two of Avhich we 
kill ; while Rachmed captures a new-born one, which he puts 
under the care'of the little she-ape we have had with us since we 
left Houmda, where we bought her from some Chinese soldiers.* 
She takes so much care of her bantling that she suffocates it, and 
it is a touching spectacle to see her licking the little body and 
trying to recall it to life. 

In this region the tribes are somewhat independent, and as 

* She is now in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris — Translator. 


it sometimes happens that several different tribes supply a con- 
tingent of porters and carriers, there are frequent quarrels as to 
the distribution of loads, these quarrels not ceasing until one of 
the chiefs draws lots. 

May 19. — Traversing grassy steppes, where the bears go 
about in large groups, descending into gorges, and scaling some 
bare plateaus, we to-day reached Koushoune, and again saw men 
armed with swords and carrying rifles. They are taller than any 
we have seen before, and have regular features and a proud air, 
looking at us with a certain amount of contempt. They made a 
difficulty about supplying us with yaks, and when these animals 
had been brought, the chiefs discussed angrily amongst them- 
selves whether we should be allowed to load them. Permission 
being given at last, we crossed the Latchou, near a village 
where a Chinaman carries on trade. After a three hours' march 
the drivers refused to advance further, and began unloading their 
animals, with the intention of leaving us in the desert. We 
had to take prompt action, and compelled them to advance by 
nourishing a revolver over their heads, but they did so at a very 
slow rate, and with a sneering sort of laugh, pretending that they 
must stop again to load the yaks better. However, we made 
them understand that this was no time for joking, and forced 
them to step along for five hours, but had to look so closely 
after them that there was no time to go after the bears to be 
seen all about the steppe. Rachmed killed one yesterday. 

In the evening we make friends with our yak-drivers, and 
they promise to do a long stage the next day. It freezes at 
night, for we are at 8,450 feet, the minimum being 25°. 

May 20. — Having found some warm springs not far from 
our camp, we descended the valley as far as Ouoshishoune, where 
we saw black tents on the river-banks. The chief of the district 
came to say that two Chinamen had brought him orders not to 
sell us anything, but he did not intend to obey them, and would 


let us have as many yaks and horses as we might require. This 
is a simple matter, for stock of all kinds is abundant, and a good 
sheep is to be had for a rupee. 

We are visited by several lamas, one of them being an 
enormous man, and this strikes us all the more because we have 
seen so many thin people since we entered Thibet. Fatness is 
the appanage of the chiefs and of the rich in this, as in all other 
Eastern countries ; and it is curious to note that the same 
Thibetan word {bembo) is used to designate high rank, or the 
good condition of a sheep or yak, just as gordo, in Spanish, is 
alike applied to fat or to wealthy people. While upon questions 
of philology, I may mention that the cuckoo, which has received 
an onomatopœian name in all languages, is Jcouti in Thibetan, 
Jcoimj'ou in Chinese, Jcakous/ia in Russian, \cikou in the Tarantshi 
dialect, and ftakou in Uzbeg. 

To return to the lamas, those at Ouoshishoune lead a very 
easy life. Here, too, we are eye-witnesses of a procession, in 
which a lama rides a horse led by two women, who are preceded 
by four others burning sweet herbs, the incense of which rises up 
to his nostrils, while six more bear presents that have been given 
him for the prayers he has recited. The good man rides imper- 
turbably on, grinding his prayer-mill. 

May 21. — To-day we meet with another lama on horseback, 
protected from the sun by a peaked straw hat with broad brim, 
and followed by three women, bare-footed and bare-headed, driving 
three yaks which were carrying his luggage. 

May 22. — We reach Dzérine by way of mountains which 
might rather be called hills, and as no more snowy peaks are to 
be seen on the horizon, it might be imagined that we were about 
to emerge upon the plain. But this is only due to the cramped 
horizon, for as soon as we scale a pass we see by what a chaos 
of peaks, ridges, and chains we are shut in ; indeed, we shall 
see nothing more of the plain until we reach the Tonquin delta. 




At Dzérine we receive a visit from the second Thibetan chief 
of the Groundjo, who tells us that the Chinese are doing all they 
can to prevent us from going to Batang, that they have vehemently 
urged his superior to refuse us the means of transport and pro- 
visions, but that the latter would do as we desired. Having 
arranged for him to accompan} r us until we have found an 
interpreter speaking both Thibetan and Chinese, as he does, we 
make arrangements for the transport of our baggage ; and as the 
population of Dzérine is not large enough to supply all the 
porters we require, the chief sends out horsemen and men on foot 
to requisition them. The porters arrive in due course, many of 
them being very tall, and measuring six feet two inches. They 
have very large faces, with the skull tapering to a point, like an 
egg, dental prognathism being the general rule. They are 
very vigorous and good-natured, playing together like children ; 
their houses are built like those we saw at preceding stages, 
though here and there are attempts at windows with wooden 

May 24. — Leaving Dzérine with a caravan composed of 
several petty chiefs, who are most anxious to serve us, we followed 
the narrow valley until we reached, by an adjacent gorge, above 
which is built a lama-house, a gentle ascent leading to a pass 
of 13,100 feet, after having crossed a first one at an altitude 
of 150 feet less. This stage was got through very cheerily, our 
carriers singing and amusing themselves all the way, like packs 
of schoolboys, and greeting us with a smile every time they 
passed us. 

By way of wooded plateaus and mountain spurs, where bears, 
wolves, foxes, and pheasants abound, we reached a gorge leading to 
the village of Hassar, which is perched upon a promontory at the 
junction of the gorge with the valley where flows the river 
Maktchou. There are a few patches of marsh and of cultivated 
land in the delta, and we watch the ploughs, drawn by } T aks, at 


work, followed hj men sowing the grain, who walk along with 
measured tread, while the women stand about and call out to 
frighten away the crows and pigeons, which fly off to the willow 
trees lining the pathway. The slopes of the mountain are bare 
of trees, and it is only very high up that one can see any pines 
overhanging the heights where the flocks are feeding. 

The houses of Hassar are all crowded together on two sides 
of a street. It is not every day that one sees a street in Thibet, 
but we lose no time in going off to encamp on a piece of fallow. 
The curiosity our presence excites is good-natured, and the chiefs 
endeavour to meet our wishes, as we have gained a reputation for 
being generous, and it is known that we give medicine to those 
who ask for it, but that, while paying handsomely for what is 
done for us, we will not stand any nonsense. Our lama, Losène, 
is very useful to us, as he has the art of being at once patient 
and energetic, while he frightens the recalcitrants by warning 
them that we are terrible people owing to our arms of precision. 
Now and then we awe the natives by the distance we fire a 
bullet, and by the number of birds we kill at one shot. Losène, 
to whom we have repeated the thing a score of times, represents 
us as being " very good to those who are good, and very hard upon 
the bad." 

Not far from our tent is a naked boy, three or four years of 
age, who has an enormous head, a big stomach, and a bent spine. 
The poor child cannot walk, his legs having no power, and one 
can tell by his deformed knees and hands that he is in the habit 
of dragging himself along like some creeping thing. He has a 
bestial expression, and a dull, lifeless eye. The chief of the district 
helps him up, to show us that he cannot stand without support, 
and exclaims, " No father or mother." 

Our lama Losène takes a piece of money out of his purse and 
gives it to the poor boy. This kindness of heart differentiates 
the Thibetans from the Chinese, for again and again have I seen 


people dying of hunger in the Celestial Empire without anyone 
paying the slightest heed to them ; while the ferocity and evil 
disposition of Chinese children is something incredible. 

In the valley of the Maktchou were many houses in ruins, 
and the natives, being questioned as to who demolished them, 
replied that this was the work of the Sokpou, who live in the 
north, and that the latter, having heard that the lama-houses 
to the south contained a good deal of treasure, made a raid 
upon the district, massacring the inhabitants and burning the 
houses and forests. 

In reply to further questions on the same subject, we were 
told that the survivors of these massacres returned and asked for 
assistance from the neighbouring tribes. Money was found for 
them by the lamas, and the fortresses and crenelated walls on 
the hills were built. They had been allowed to fall into dis- 
repair since a sense of security returned, no recent attacks having 
been made by these Sokpou. 

" But can you explain more precisely where these Sokpou 
live ? " 

" They live on the route taken by the servants whom you 
sent back before we started on our journey. Their country is 
further off than Natchou." 

" In the Tsaïdam, then ? " 

"Yes, that's it." 

" And when did this invasion take place ? " 

" A very long time ago." 

This is one more proof of how impossible it is in the East 
to obtain the slightest historical information. It would seem as 
if the present alone interested them. Trustworthy documents 
are not to be had, and the historians who are content to derive 
their materials from Asiatic sources are not likely to understand 
much of the past which they seek to revive. 

May 27. — Leaving Hassar, we mounted the course of a river 


which winds about among lofty rocks, forming a narrow defile. A 
very awkward pathway, a rough sort of staircase cut in the rocks, 
leads to a cultivated valley three or four miles long, where inhabited 
villages and numerous ruins are to be seen. Once more taking the 
south-easterly direction which we had abandoned for a time, we 
climbed a plateau and descended again into another valle} r , where 
we came upon the village of Akker. Our arrival was heralded by 
thunder and lightning, and we took refuge from the storm under 
some fine poplars, when we had time to note that the fields were 
well cultivated and enclosed, and that value is placed upon timber, 
some small poplars recently planted having been surrounded by 
thorns to prevent the cattle from getting at them. When the sun 
came out after the rain, the valley seemed to be a sea of blood, 
for the soil is quite reel, and glittered after being so deluged with 

Having changed our beasts of burden at Akker, we pitched 
our camp at Lendjoune, on a small plateau with just room for a 
score of houses. Our tent is near a spring, under poplars which at 
a distance we took for willows owing to the similarity of foliage. 

The inhabitants, having seen that we shot the small birds, 
try to frighten them away by throwing stones. They appear 
the most insolent of the people we have met with so far. 
The native chiefs exercise an administrative rather than a 
patriarchal authority. Thus the Thibetan chief who accompanies 
us has a copper cup out of which he is in the habit of drinking, 
and this cup, which he has left for a moment, suddenly dis- 
appears. No one has seen it, of course, but when he tells two of 
his men to seize one of the onlookers and Hog him till the cup is 
returned, it reappears as if by magic. 

In the evening, when the flocks are being driven home, we 
hear a doleful dirge like that of the Mussulman women who 
accompany the dead to the cemetery, and very possibly a body 
is being taken up to be laid out on the summit of the mountain. 

AT DOTOU. 167 

At night, when we leave for Dotou, there is a fall of rain, with a 
cloudy sky and north wind. 

May 28. — We are told that two Chinese from Ba and one 
from Tsiamdo are awaiting us at Dotou. The Chinese mandarin 
recently sent from Pekin to Lhassa has just been through Ba and 
Tsiamdo, and we are informed that, having been apprised of our 
journey by the Thibetan authorities, he told them they were to 
assist us, and that his predecessor said the same. Be this as it 
may, the Thibetans will help us in carrying our luggage as far as 
Tatsien-Lou, and it is the reverse of unpleasant to have these 
promises renewed just as we are about to come into contact with 
the Chinese authorities. 

The ride to Dotou from Lendjoune is over some bare table- 
lands, and a very easy pass of 10,800 feet, leading to a region 
undulating like the last spurs of a mountain chain. A few 
hamlets are to be seen in the low ground, a few ruins on the hills, 
and the whitened walls of a few lama-houses, but there are no 
more wooden houses, this not being a forest region. In three 
hours' time we arrive at the lama-house of Dotou, built upon a 
level piece of ground near the Maktchou river, and are soon 
surrounded by a crowd of inquisitive people, who hold their noses, 
either out of disgust or astonishment. 

A few paces from where our tent is pitched is another in- 
habited by the Chinese of whom mention was made to us at 
Lendjoune. These latter mix for a few minutes with the crowd 
which is having a look at us, and then return to their tent, 
emerging from it soon after in state to pay us a visit. Their 
chief is a petty mandarin with a whjte button, equivalent to 
about the rank of corporal, but that does not prevent him from 
addressing us with great dignity. Having shown his card and 
greeted us by pressing his fists close together, he says he 
has been sent by the chief of Djankalo (Changka) in order to 
welcome us and accompany us further on. He is entirely at our 



disposal, and hopes we will come to his tent and take a cup of 
tea. In fact, he had been beginning to get uneasy about us, as 


he had expected us a week sooner, and was afraid that some 
accident had happened. However, he was very glad we had 
arrived safely, as his provisions were beginning to run short, but 



now he could send off a messenger to his superior at Changka 
and say that we had arrived all right. After this avalanche of 


' '"<- "• 


compliments, he withdrew with comic gravity. I may add that 
there are no people who possess the art of assimilation to so 
perfect a degree as the Chinese, who can either ascend or descend 
the social ladder with astonishing rapidity. 



The principal attraction of the Dotou lama-house is a series of 
prayer-mills. Beneath a gallery running almost entirely round 
the house, are enormous bobbins composed of printed prayers and 
transfixed by a long piece of wood which is held in position by 
two beams. These bobbins are turned by hand, and as it is said 
that each is composed of 10,000 prayers, and as there are at least 
100 of them, it is easy to see what an enormous quantity of 
prayers can be said in a walk round the building. Our arrival, 
however, distracted the worshippers from their pious occupation, 
and when we unloaded our beasts, they came and felt the weight 
of our packages and wanted to put their hands on our clothes, 
their attitude being intolerably insolent. What interested them 
most was our wild-yak skin, which they would have pulled all to 
pieces if we had not made them keep their hands off it. 

I had scarcely gone into my tent when Prince Henry called 
me to come out, and when I went I found a free fight going on, 
with Rachnied holding down a man all covered with blood, and 
others flourishing their swords or throwing stones. Akoun and 
Abdullah effected a clearance by firing a few shots from their 
revolvers in the air, and the Chinese made off, leaving two or three 
of their comrades prisoners, including the man on whose chest 
Rachmed had got his knee. The cause of the disturbance, as it 
then appeared, was that this latter, one of the chiefs, had tried to 
handle the yak-skin, in spite of Rachmed's injunction, and so from 
words they had come to blows. However, in response to the 
entreaties of our lama, we set the captives at liberty again, and 
then our Chinese friends, who had held well aloof while all this was 
going on, appeared on the scene, and, assuming the most valiant 
air, went out on the terrace of the lama-house, overlooking the 
place whither our assailants had fled. The chief then came back, 
and in the course of a conversation said these people were quite 
beyond management. " We give them good advice," he added, 
" but it is all to no purpose. They are such ill-conducted savages 


that neither at Pekin nor Lhassa is it thought desirable to have 
them for subjects. It is quite impossible to quit the high road 
and penetrate into their mountain retreats, and we never meet 
them without there being disputes. Last year they robbed an 
envoy of the Emperor, and they recently refused to provide 
beasts of burden for our mandarin who was going to Lhassa. 
We ourselves could only get these horses by holding out threats 
that you would fire on them when you came. Nothing is to be 
done with them by reasoning ; and if we use force they give us 
back blow for blow. So all we can do is to leave them alone, 
though we have 1,300 men distributed over the posts between 
Lhassa and Tatsien-Lou." 

When we looked at the three soldiers whom the Liantaï 
(treasurer-payer) of Batang had sent us as a protection, we could 
not help smiling to one another. It is easy to understand that 
the Thibetans do not feel any alarm when they see them coming. 

These three men do not convey a very high idea of the 
Chinese army, for one is a bloodless opium-smoker, devoid of all 
vigour, shivering in the mountain air, though we are barely 
10,000 feet high, so sensitive to cold that he covers up his ears 
even in the daytime, as well as his head and neck. He has yellow 
teeth and a lack-lustre eye, and it is as much as he can do to keep 
on his horse. He admits that his pay is six rupees a month, and 
that he spends half of it on tobacco. As to the wearer of the 
white button, whom we have nicknamed the " Colonel," he does 
not smoke opium, and is a most consequential little man. It is 
amusing to see him strut about, swinging his arms, straddling his 
legs and bending his figure, while his hands with their long 
finger-nails are, with much assumption, thrust out of his broad 

The third is not so martial or warlike, and has been sent 
to join the two others because he speaks Thibetan. Unlike theirs, 
his nose is not retrousse, his features being regular. 


At Dotou we dismissed our guide, the lama Losène, who was 
delighted with the presents we gave him, including a few chromos 
representing lion-shooting in Algeria, and bear-hunting in the 
Ural. He bade us farewell with emotion, and wished us a pleasant 
journey. Although we have a Thibetan interpreter, and, after 
leaving Changka, shall meet Chinese military posts, the worthy 
Losène urged us to be on our guard, for, as far as Batang, we 
should traverse a region inhabited by very ill-disposed and 
dangerous men, who might attack us as we went through the 

May 29. — Bearing this in mind, we take our cartridges and 
keep close to our baggage, with an eye on the ridges above. 
The route we follow reminds us of the highlands of Thibet, and 
we see many flocks under the watchful eye of shepherds, who carry 
long guns with forked rests at the end of them, and live in black 
tents which are protected by their fierce dogs. All trace of vege- 
tation has disappeared, whereas a few days ago we could have 
fancied ourselves in the Alps, with jasmine, lilac, tulips, and 
poppies all about us. Sleet is falling, with a bitterly cold south- 
east wind, and we wonder if winter is «■oin"" to return. 

Leaving the valley which we have followed since Dotou, we 
traversed a pass of over 13,000 feet leading to an undulating steppe, 
with peat-bogs and a few black tents, dotted about with flocks. 
We halted near these tents, the occupants of which were not so 
rudely inquisitive as the natives of Dotou, and learnt that the place 
is called Gato by the Chinese and Hado by the Thibetans. The 
route from Hado to Tara first lies over a pass of 13,000 feet, and 
then through a grassy valley, beyond which are some pine-clad 
slopes, with a few patches of cultivated land within half an hour 
of Tara. There are no traces of irrigation, but beyond Tara, 
which is situated upon a sort of natural terrace, vegetation 
reappears, the pines, the poplars, the oak with leaves like those of 
the holly-tree, the wild raspberry, and the thorn, giving the 


valley a delicious odour. Where the valley opens out, a chapel 
has been built, and above is a lama-house. Following the right 
bank of the Tson-ron, we passed through various hamlets. As 
wood is plentiful, there are a great many chapels and chalets built 
of the material, so that we might again fancv ourselves on the 
Alps. The inhabitants are a fine set of men, some of whom wear 
hats with broad white brims, and look like the Mexican Grauchos, 
while their wives have so far modified their dress that they wear 
petticoats tightened at the waist, instead of tying their pelisses 
tight over their haunches. 

The whole of this valley is full of animation, and in the 
pinewoods to the south of it, the villages are perched like nests 
among the verdure. We halted at Tsonké, the houses of which 
are built upon the left bank of an affluent of the Tson-ron, with 
a white walled lama-house on an eminence above. The chiefs of 
this village were very civil, and were ready to supply us with 
what we wanted. Their horses, however, are not what they 
might be, though bigger than those we had hitherto had, this 
increase in size being due, as we w r ere told, to their having been 
crossed with the Sininfou breed. 

May 30. — The stage from Tsonké to Tchounneu is a delightful 
one, for on leaving the valley the road rises at once to a plateau 
covered with pines and oaks — the leaves of which are like those of 
holly — and dotted here and there with grassy glades and with 
gorges in which torrents babble. The path is through the wood, 
well protected from the sud, and with squirrels darting from 
branch to branch. By way of two small passes we got to 
Tchounneu, and encamped in an enclosed meadow, a mild south- 
east wind making things very agreeable. The inhabitants appear 
to be rather violent, judging by the readiness with which one 
of them drew his sword when one of our men told him to keep 
his hands off our luggage. The incident, however, was not 


The Thibetan interpreter chatted part of the evening with us, 
and said that, as we had assumed from his regular features, his 
father was a Mussulman, and that he was quite young when he 
came to Batang with the missionary Lou.* He described this mis- 
sionary as being very kind and intelligent, speaking and writing 
both Chinese and Thibetan very correctly, as giving all he had to 
the poor, and as knowing all about everything, even the mending 
of a watch. 

Europeans may smile at the idea of a man being regarded as 
wonderful because he knows how to set a watch right, but the 
Chinese only recognise our superiority to them in the art of con- 
structing machinery, if they do even in that. To return to our 
interpreter, wdio is a Christian, though he does not like to own 
to it, he is the father of five children, and he has been selected to 
come and meet us because he speaks Thibetan and Chinese. 
Asked as to why he had left Father Lou, he said, " I did not 
leave him. He died twenty years ago, without a priest by his 
bedside, surrounded by his Christians, who adored him, and who 
were heart-broken . Before death, he said where he would like to 
be buried, indicating a spot on the mountain-side, where he had 
planted a small knife in the ground. We did as he bade us, and 
when we get to Changka, I will show you the place." 

" Have you remained at Changka since? " 

" No, I went to Batang." 

" Why did you not stay there ? " 

" Then you don't know that the Christians were driven out 
from there two years ago, the lower classes having been excited 
against them ? " 

" By whom ? " 

" By some ill-disposed persons who accused them of having 
been the cause of the drying-up of a lake in the mountain, which 
admits of the fields about Batang being irrigated. So the people 

* Father Renou, as I afterwards discovered. 


destroyed the houses and chapel of the Christians, and drove them 
away, the school-teacher, who attempted to protect the holy 
books, being killed." 

" What did t he Chinese mandarin say ? " 

" Nothing.' 3 

" Were no damages paid for this ? " 

" It appears that the missionaries will get some, for you have 
a Minister at Pekin, who has put in a claim to the Tsong-li- 
Yamen, and we are told that justice will be done. In the mean- 
while, we have to dissimulate, and many Christians have died of 

" You acknowledge you are Christians. Why did you not say 
so sooner ? " 

" I had seen that there was a priest among you, and I even 
thought the chief was a bishop in disguise, for we are expecting 
fresh priests." 

Thus it was that we heard about the destruction of the Batang 
Mission, which Monsignor Biet, Bishop of Tatsien-Lou, had 
already announced by a letter in the Missions catholiques ; and at 
the same time we learnt that the Chinese Government readily 
makes fine promises which it does not keep, and that foreign 
diplomatists are easily contented with smooth words, wrongly 
imagining that the interests of Europe can be separated from those 
of the Catholic missionaries. If they were to travel in the heart 
of the Celestial Empire, they would see that a European is con- 
sidered by the people as the representative of a nation which is 
loathed, and which, though tolerated on the coast, is maltreated 
and killed at every available opportunity inland. To submit to 
the pillage of the missions, is to encourage attacks upon the 

June 1. — When we resume our journey, the weather is 
delightful, the minimum for the night having been 65°, w r hile 
the fact of its being the 1st of June, and of our being due in 



a month at Tatsien-Lou, where we shall get news of Europe, 
imparts fresh vigour to our steps as we descend the valley. 
We only hope that the meeting with the mandarins at Changka 
and Batang may not raise fresh difficulties to delay our first 


meeting with Europeans, a few da} T s hence. The valley is pleasant 
enough, with its fields of scanty harley, and its stream with salt 
deposit on the banks ; and as we get a little further on, we come 
upon a lama-house built upon a promontory at the junction of 
two valleys. All the lamas are out on the walls to see us pass, 
and most of them are remarkable for their corpulence. 

Prom the valley we climb to a tableland covered with pine 
woods, and reach the pass of 18,000 feet which leads down to 
Changka. Westward appears another valley, from which emerge 


long files of yaks carrying heavy loads, and our interpreter sa} r s 
it is the high road to Lhassa, while, pointing to two upright 
stones, he tells us that it is at the foot of them that Father Lou 
and another Christian are buried. It is rather strange that a 
French tomb should be found at the meeting-place of the ways 


which other Frenchmen have been the first to trace in the unknown 
land of Thibet, for at Changka we shall get on to the route 
of Fathers Hue and Gabet, which, at a later period, Fathers 
Eenou, Fage, and Desgodins followed for some distance. 

A Chinaman arrives on foot, and says that the mandarin of 
Changka wishes to receive us in state, and as a few green trees, 
surrounded by a palisade, are visible in the small plain, we express 
a desire to encamp beneath their shade. We are agreeably sur- 
prised to find that this has already been done, our tastes having 
already been made known in advance by the mandarin who had 


gone on in front. So we make our way towards tlie town of 
Changka, if the name of town can be given to a small group of 
houses ; and as we enter, we find the garrison of the place drawn 
up in line. It consists of about twenty warriors of all ages, 
whose sole weapon is an oilskin parasol. They have all of them 
a most woebegone and starved appearance, and, as may be seen 
from their glassy look and emaciated features, most of them are 
opium-smokers. In order to conform with Chinese etiquette, we 
alight from our horses and pass in front of these troops, who do 
us honour by kneeling on the ground and pronouncing words 
which we do not comprehend. Then we mount our horses again 
and go off to the garden, which is shut in by tall and leafy 
poplars. The crowd, composed of Thibetans, Chinese, and half- 
breeds, surges round us with noisy and disdainful curiosity, and 
escorts us to the tents which the mandarin has had put up for us. 
Very soon after our arrival we receive a visit from four 
soldiers, one of whom has accompanied us from Dotou, and from 
two white buttons, including the corporal whose consequential 
appearance is described above. They have come to present 
the respects of the garrison, and to offer us a box of zamha and 
a box of beans, in which one or two dozen eggs have been placed ; 
but while they are making their genuflections, their attendants 
whip off the boxes — for fear, no doubt, that we shall accept the 
presents. This is a great disappointment to Abdullah, who dotes 
on eggs, and so it is to Eachmed and Akoun, who load the 
garrison with insults, and only recover their equanimity when 
they see five other warriors arrive with a table in the form of a 
large wicker basket, which they are carrying on their shoulders 
with a pole, and inside which are visible several cups filled with 
different ingredients. This, the corporal informs us, is a repast 
sent by the mandarin of Changka, who regrets that he is not 
well enough to pay us a visit to-day, but hopes to do so to-morrow. 
After thanking him for his kind attention, we ask the speaker to 


supply us with some fresh eggs, chicken, and pork — for we have 
seen several pigs about the streets. The corporal promises to go 
and see about this, and we sit down to table, in the literal sense 
of the word, for the first time these many months past. The 
staple of the meal consists of slices of pork and chicken cut up 
into small pieces. The whole is cooked in pig's lard, and 
Eachmed makes off, like the good Mussulman he is, while 
Abdullah, whose voracity is stronger than all the prescriptions of 
the Koran, enjoys the rather tasteless dishes, followed by a 
dessert of balls of pastry — inside which are bits of coloured sugar 
— and a small bottle of ara — a horrible concoction of spirit. 

This meal delights several of our men who have got tired of 
the bad food on the road, mutton and goat flesh being so 
repugnant to some of them that they can only eat bread, or 
rather a paste made of barley or bean meal. While we are 
enjoying this repast, a Thibetan chief, who is the most important 
man in the region, arrives, and treats us with great civility. It 
seems that orders were sent to Changka concerning us three 
weeks ago by the Chinese chief at Lhassa, and that six weeks 
ago it was known that twelve men with camels were advancing 
on Lhassa; the Ta-Lama of which had sent orders about us 
to the lamas and the Thibetan people. 

When we ask to whom the garden where we are encamped 
belongs, we are told it is the property of the garrison, and 
when we inquire how this is, the answer was, " It used to 
belong to Chinese bonzes, who had built a pagoda surrounded by 
trees, but the Thibetans, having risen in rebellion, killed the 
bonzes and destroyed the pagoda. Then the Chinese collected 
numerous troops, again reduced the Thibetans to subjection, 
and, in order to punish the rebels, insisted, among other things, 
that this ground should be made over to the garrison of 
Changka. The soldiers have put a wall round it, and feed their 
stock there, while, as the site is a convenient one, it has been used 


for entertainments, promenades, religions festivals, and military 

" Do the soldiers often drill? " 

" Now and then." 

" When did they drill last ? " 

" Two years ago." 

" Why don't they drill oftener ? " 

" They have no arms. There are only four swords at 
Changka for 150 men; the others are in the stores at Batang." 

"Are there really 150 soldiers? We have not seen more 
than thirty or so since we came." 

" There ought to be, for the mandarin draws pay for that 
number. But as he himself receives a salary of not more than 
five or six ounces of silver a month, he increases his pay by 
reducing the contingent. Those who die are not replaced, and 
as most of the soldiers are married, their male children are put 
down on the roll, so that they may receive their father's pay 
when they are old enough to take their place. This is why you 
have seen lads of thirteen or fourteen among the soldiers drawn 
up in line to salute you." 

" Which are the unmarried soldiers ? " 

" The opium smokers, who have not enough money left to 
keep a wife and family." 

" The women are Thibetans, are they not ? " 

"Thibetans or half-breeds." 

When the corporal has gone, the old interpreter confides to 
us that he will not come with us to Batang, for, he says, " Our 
chief hates me, and I know that he is intriguing with the 
mandarin to accompany you farther, and as the mandarin is, 
like him, a native of Setchou, he is sure to have his way and 
take my place." We ask the interpreter to get in a good supply 
of eggs, for we have not much confidence in the corporal, and 
we know how readily the Chinese promise all one asks, and how 



cleverly they get out of keeping their word. Still, we have 
been told that we shall have some fresh pork to-morrow, and 
we go to bed dreaming of broiled chops, which are sure to be 





Religious Prophylactics — "Red" and "Yellow" Lamaism — The Lamas as Capitalists — From 
Changka to Koushou — The Tea Trade hetween China and Thihet — Leindunne — Anarchy 
— Chinese Inns — The Blue River (Kin-sha-Kiang) — Frenchmen in Thihet — Chinese 
Justice — An Orgie — Chinese Soldiers: the Courage of Numhers — At Batang — A Series 
of Questions— Tatsien-Lou — -The French Missionaries there — A Difficulty with the 
Mandarin — Apology — Chinese Administration — Sending Home the Photographs — The 
Red River — On French Soil — Hanoï — The Future of Tonquin — Conclusion. 

June 2. — Last night there was a mini- 
mum temperature of 27°, and there has 
been a south wind all the morning, 
followed by rain. Three shots an- 
nounced that this was the fifteenth day of 
the Chinese month, when the people go 
to the pagoda to do reverence to the 
statues, the secretary of the mandarin 
informing us that his master had gone 
there, and might be too occupied all the 
rest of the day to pay us his promised 
visit, while he would not like to intrude 
upon us in the evening. 

Then he handed us a long letter in 
Chinese and Thibetan, which, upon his reading it out, told 
us that, having arrived on the fourteenth day of the moon, 
we were to leave on the sixteenth, and that we were to 
be provided with six saddle-horses, six pack-horses, and 
thirty-three yaks. Two soldiers were to go ahead and collect 
the horses, while two others were to accompany us. And in 
five days we were to reach Batang. This piece of news was very 
welcome, for we had had enough of arguing and contending at each 
relay. So we thanked the representative of the authorities, and 



asked him to convey our compliments to the mandarin, just 
making an allusion to the promised fresh pork. He said that 
some should be sent to us forthwith, but Chinese superstitions, 
concerning which I might, if time allowed, write a long chapter, 
prevented us from eating the flesh of one of the small black 
pigs which run about in Changka. The lamas had ordered the 
slaughter-house of the town to be closed, because prayers were 
at this moment being offered up for rain, and it would not 
do to offend the deity by an act of bloodshed. To kill a pig 
at this moment would excite the anger of the gods, and the 
harvest would be endangered. So it was all up with the pork 

The whole population is given over to prayer, men, women, 
and children pouring out to the white tents pitched in the plain, 
where the lamas have conveyed the statues of their gods, and are 
making supplications to them. It is not at all unlikely that 
our presence is the cause of these religious prophylactics, for 
fear that we may have cast a spell upon the ground we have 
trodden. A short time ago, we saw the Thibetans pass our 
baggage over the fire so as to purify it before they put it on their 
shoulders, while on another occasion the men who were at work 
in the fields we went through, snatched up a handful of earth — 
like Marius predicting the birth of the Gracchi — and, throwing it 
into the air, mumbled a form of prayer to disinfect the soil. 

All the devout people of Changka are astir and on their way 
to the tents, and a horse is led carrying six packets of very long- 
prayers pressed tight between slabs of wood and fastened with 
strips of leather. Then comes a fat lama of high rank, riding at 
his ease upon a mule led by two lamas bareheaded, who hold the 
reins in one hand, while with the other they turn their prayer- 
mills. Behind them come the bearers of drums and cymbals, and 
last of all a crowd of clerical and lay worshippers, marching cheer- 
fully along. All the lamas of Changka and their flocks have 


turned out to avert the misfortune which our presence is cal- 
culated to bring upon the valley. It appears that the divinity 
had been entreated for some little time past to send rain, and that 
these prayers were just about being answered when we arrived. 
As strangers could not be other than hostile, the lamas had no 
difficulty in persuading the faithful that the clouds would dis- 
perse without sending down any rain unless they were kept back 
by fervent prayers. So the lamas of Changka are said to be 
unfavourably disposed towards us, the more so as they are " reds," 
that is to say, they have not accepted the Tsongkapa reform, the 
partizans of which are distinguished by their yellow head-gear. 
These " reds " were much annoyed at the receipt of the letters 
from Lhassa, commending us to their favour, for the theocracy 
of Lhassa is "yellow," and the lamas of the old school say 
that we shall be the cause of terrible drought ; and they will not 
lend any aid in the transporting of our luggage. They also 
decline to lend us any yaks, so that the chiefs of the neighbour- 
ing tribes have to do all the work. 

A certain antagonism always reigns between the lay and the 
religious chiefs. But the latter are the richer and more influential. 

The lama-house of Changka owns a good part of the valley, 
and in course of time it will be in possession of the whole, the 
lamas being the only people who have any capital in hand, so that 
they lend money to the poor, and enrich themselves by usury. A 
time arrives when the debtors are unable to pay, and then they 
surrender their land and become in reality serfs attached to 
the glebe. From that time they become themselves the property 
of the lama-house, which furnishes them with implements, seed, 
and manure to cultivate the soil, and they make over the harvest 
to their new masters, being paid in flour — enough to keep them 
from starvation during the winter. 

These red lamas are not all given up to celibacy or to a 
life devoid of worldly pleasures, for, when tired of the cloister, 



they are at liberty to resume a lay life, on condition of 
abandoning to the community the endowment they paid foi- 
admission. In the same way, if, once more tired of ordinary life, 
they knock a second time at the door of the monastery, they are 
re-admitted if prepared to make a second payment. Whenever 


a property is for sale, these lamas buy it. When, therefore, they 
pray for rain, they are really praying for themselves. In this in- 
stance it is to be supposed that their prayers are answered, or else 
that we are not such very dreadful people, for there is a fall of snow 
and rain during the night. This ought to put the lamas and their 
serfs in a good humour, but the former are most splenetic, and 
continue to look at us askance. One of them distinguishes him- 
self by the persistency with which he drives off the inquisitive 
people who come to look at us. He is a long, thin sort of fellow, 
emaciated, no doubt, by constant privations ; with his long 


eagle-like nose, his hollow cheeks, and his sharp chin with its tuft 
of hair, he has anything but a taking appearance. Prom time to time 
he makes a dash into our enclosure, scolds the inquisitive people 
who have collected, and drives them off to the door, raising his 
arms as a shepherd does when driving a flock of sheep. He, at 
all events, seems to be a thorough-paced bachelor, judging by the 
unceremonious way in which he treats the women, 

June 16. — The rain comes clown in torrents, but that does 
not damp the ardour with which these lamas turn their prayer- 
mills as they march behind us, as if the}^ wished to purify the soil 
we have been treading. The people, however, escort us a little way, 
and the Changka garrison, thanking us for our presents, wishes us 
a pleasant journey. As we descend the valley, which gradually 
narrows, we meet numerous caravans of yaks conveying tea, and 
at Poula we obtain a relay after a march of sixty lis, or a little 
over eleven miles, which would show that the measure of the li is 
not definitely settled, or that the Chinese have, for some reason, 
exaggerated the length of the stage. Thinking eleven miles a 
very short journey for people in so much of a hurry, we do not 
allow ourselves to be tempted by the meal of pork, fish, and 
pesJilcé (a kind of cabbage) which is served us in a white tent, 
and insist upon pushing on to Koushou, as had been arranged 
before the start. But it seems as if there was no intention of 
keeping faith with us, and, after some discussion, the chief of the 
lamas and the civil chief of the district arrive. They tell us that 
we cannot start till to-morrow, and that we must await the return 
of the yaks, which have gone on to Changka with bales of tea. 

We ask if these persons have received orders, and the mandarin's 
men declare that either last night or early this morning they were 
advised of our arrival and told to keep yaks for our use. As we 
are in possession of an enormous sealed document, authorising us 
to requisition beasts of burden in the name of the Emperor of 
China, we protest, and request the white-buttoned mandarin, who 



lias escorted us from Dotou to Changka, to speak on our behalf, 
telling him that he was a powerful chief and that the Thibetans 
would obey him at once. But he says they are not under his 
jurisdiction, and goes on smoking his pipe in an unconcerned sort 
of way. So we take the 
matter into our own hands, 
and by dint of parleying, 
discussing, threatening, and 
promising, get what we want, 
and go to pass the night at 
Koushou, a military post in 
the hollow of a small valley. 
The road to it is through 
woods and over a pass 12,400 
feet high, whence we can 
distinguish to the west a 
white chain which the na- 
tives call Dameloune, so far 
as we can understand them. 
While eating a good-sized 
omelette with bacon, about 

10 p.m., we learn from the commander of this fort that in two 
days' time we shall be on the territory of Batang, and that our 
arrival has been looked forward to very eagerly. 

June 17. — The road we follow is that of the pilgrims, and it 
is marked by numerous obos with large quantities of engraved 
prayers. We also notice on the obos, and on the top of the 
chapels, small columns of wood, surmounted by balls, by crescents, 
or other roughly-carved ornaments, but all done in exactly the 
same way. Each of these columns has twelve hollow rings, and 
this figure twelve, which is constantly recurring, must tally with 
some religious or superstitious fancy. We asked explanations as 
to this from competent persons, but were unable to get airy. I 



can only guess, therefore, that it has something to do with the 
Thibetan cycle of twelve } r ears. 

Certain authors have stated that Lhassa is the resort of countless 
pilgrims. I do not know upon what they base their statements, 
but we met very few, and there must be some mistake, unless, 
indeed, the population in the south of Thibet and to the north of 
the Himalayas is very dense, and so devout that it supplies the 
great bulk of the pilgrims. 

The tea trade between China and Thibet is very important, 
the transport being effected chiefly by the road from Tatsien-Lou 
to Lhassa, by w T ay of Tsiamdo. The relays of yaks are settled by 
custom, each village contributing its share to the conveyance of 
the tea, and receiving a fixed contribution, generally in kind. 

Three hours after leaving Koushou we get a relay at Lein- 
dunne, where we arrive by way of cultiYated valle} r s and plantations 
of oak and pine, the people appearing to be better off in every 
way than those in the districts we have been passing through. 
Some of them are even fat, and the women are of a more 
civilised type — both as regards appearance and dress — than the 
Thibetans. Their clothes are of coarse cloth, sometimes red, 
sometimes striped in the Thibetan colours of green, red, and 
yellow. In the sunlight this blending of colours produces a 
very striking effect, reminding one of Andalusia. 

Beyond .Leindunne the route branches off to Batang in one 
direction and to Atentze in another, the journey to the latter place 
occupying, according to the Chinese soldiers, four days ; while from 
Atentze to Yunnan-Fou it would take a month. But the road is 
so bad that it can only be done on foot. The best account of 
this region is to be found in the work of the French missionaries 
Lesgodins and Biet. 

Although the valleys are well cultivated, the crops are 
not sufficient to feed the military post at Leindunne, which is 
obliged to get its supplies from Atentze ; and although the post 



is within a two days' march of Batang, nothing is bought there, 
prices being too high. While we are gossiping we see some 
splendid mules, richly caparisoned, and carrying bales of tea, 
being driven by ; they belong, we are told, to the Talai-Lama 
in person, who sends them round with tea every year to the 
different lama-houses. The houses in this village present 
some attempt at decoration, in the shape of corbels and 
patterns on the window-shutters ; while, to judge by the large 
quantity of manis (engraved prayers) freshly painted in bright 
colours, this must be a land of holiness. We cannot, however, 
ascertain whether the peasants, in picking up a handful of soil 
and throwing it into the air as we pass, are actuated by a 
religious motive or by the fear that we may bring, them ill-luck. 

June IS. — During the night there was snow and rain; and as 
the rain is still falling at dawn, our Chinese soldiers give us 
another proof of their reluctance to travel in the wet. These men 
are quite useless, their authority over the Thibetans being nil ; 
and all they can do is to smoke their pipes and say " Io, Io." 
The whole country appears to be in a state of anarch}', and the 
native chiefs are not obe}^ed by their subjects. 

It is eleven o'clock before we descend the valley with our 
baggage, and after an hour's march the animals are unloaded, and 
fresh disputes begin between men of different tribes. 

While the natives are quarrelling over our baggage, we go to 
look at one of the water-mills at the edge of a stream. It is like 
all the mills in Asia, the water being supplied through the hollow 
trunk of a tree, with an undershot wheel setting the millstone 
in motion. In the centre of the upper stone is a hole, through 
which the grains drop into a bag made of goat-skin, held in 
its place by a rope tied to the wall. 

After an hour and a half's talk the population consent to 
carry our baggage to the next relay, only two miles off; and 
from there, after fresh disputes, we arrive at Kountsetinne. 



Having been driven out of the inn of the place — where we 
had intended passing the night — by its nlthiness, we pitch our 
tent in the courtyard, bad as the weather is. 


I need not repeat my description of these filthy Chinese inns, 
which are so disgusting that those of Thibet seem palaces in com- 
parison. It appears that this particular one is intended for the 
accommodation of the mandarins and soldiers on the march, and 
the keeper of it is very much disappointed at our leaving it, as he 



has been told that we pay liberally when we are well satisfied. 
However, we prefer to remain where we are, and while the 
Thibetan and Chinese chiefs are sitting qnietly smoking their 
pipes and drinking their tea under cover from the rain, the two 
principal ones hurriedly mount their horses and gallop off with 


guns and swords. It appears that, a few hundred yards from the 
village, at the foot of the gorge, some brigands who had come 
down from the mountain have taken by surprise the Thibetans 
who were conveying our baggage, and seized six horses. In 
order to do this more easily, the brigands allowed the bulk 
of the escort to pass, and only attacked the rear-guard. Our 
" white button " says that it will be useless to pursue them, as 
they have got well away to the mountain ; and when I ask him 


if this is a frequent occurrence, he says that it is, the mountain 
being peopled b}^ incorrigible savages. 

June 19. — There were heavy showers all night; and when we 
start this morning, the descent from the inn — which is at an 
altitude of about 8,000 feet — begins almost at once, and we are 
soon among clematis, syringas, jasmine, and eglantines, with 
cultivated fields, and nuts nearly ripe. Still descending, we find 
ripe barley at 5,400 feet; while about 1,000 feet below the 
people are gathering in the harvest. At 4,000 feet the harvest 
has already been got in, aud we are able to give our horses fresh 
straw. The rjeople inhabiting this slope of the mountain are 
rather fierce, and do not obey their chiefs better than those on 
the other side ; but the dress' is gradually being modified under the 
influence of Chinese fashions, and the native chiefs have the hair 
cropped close upon the front of the head, like the mandarins of 
the conquering nation. The people, too, do not wear the same 
sort of shoes as the Thibetans, the children having their feet 
in sandals, which are kept on by strips of leather passed between 
the toes and fastened round the heel. 

As we follow a rather awkward path in the pouring rain, we 
suddenly come on a large river, in a valley nearly half a mile 
wide. This is the Kin-sha-Kiang, the great Blue River; but 
we cannot keep pace with its rapid current, for this river — the 
Yan-tse-kiang of the East — rolls its turbid flood at a tremendous 
j>ace over rocks and boulders, as if eager to bury its waters in the 
depths of the ocean. Leaving the river-bank again, we get upon 
a more easy route, and, galloping along past eglantine-trees, reach 
a delta formed by the Shisougoune as it emerges from the 
mountain. We cross it by a bridge which does not seem any 
too safe; and as we do so, we hear shots being fired from the high 
rocks on the other side. This is a salute from men who have 
been posted up there to keep a look-out for the brigands who in- 
fest the country, and they have received orders from the Chinese 


mandarin at Batang to look after us. A little farther on we 
pass a chapel built in the form of a triumphal arch, and thence 
descend to the banks of the Kin-sha-Kiang, the bed of which 
is so broad at this spot that it can be crossed in a large 
flat-bottomed boat 50 feet long by nearly 9 feet in beam. 
This boat, which is of deal secured with iron clamps, is rowed 
by two women and two men, all of mixed blood, with a 
long-tailed Chinaman steering. The river is about a furlong 
broad at the point where we cross it ; and as we are being 
rowed across, we cannot but think of the Frenchmen who have 
done so before us, and who have scarcely had justice done 
them. Our countrymen are about the only people who have 
had the good fortune to visit Thibet since it has been closed 
against Europeans. First of all, there came Fathers Hue and 
Gabet, whose daring voyage will not have been forgotten, and who 
have been rather harshly criticised. They have been blamed 
for not having mentioned chains of mountains which the state of 
the atmosphere doubtless prevented them from seeing, and 
they have been laughed at for describing as a broad river what 
those who saw it thirty years afterwards found to be only a 
small one. But their critics seem to forget under what disadvan- 
tages they — the first Europeans to come into the country — 
laboured, and for my part I consider that they effected the 
most daring and interesting of journeys with little in the way of 
resources except their own will and energy. 

Since leaving Changka we have been upon what may be de- 
scribed as French soil, for Father Renou penetrated into Thibet, 
and got together the materials for a dictionary which maybe com- 
pared to that of Csoma, the learned Hungarian, whose labours he 
completed, thus opening the country to his successors by enabling 
them to study the language. Then came Fathers Fage, Desgodins, 
and Thomine, who penetrated as far as Tsiamdo, and many 
others whose names should be familiar to all Europeans. These 


martyrs of civilisation opened np the way for explorers, and the 
illustrious Prjevalslry, when travelling in Thibet, did no more than 
follow a portion of Father Hue's route ; while the Englishmen, Gill 
and Mesny, marched in the track of our missionaries, and Count 
Bela Szechinyi, accompanied by Loczi and Kreitner, endeavoured 
to reach Lhassa, He had every possible document and letter 
of introduction ; he was escorted by Chinese mandarins, and 
possessed a considerable fortune ; but he could not get beyond 
Batang, and returned through the Yunnan. Cooper, having 
attempted to diverge from the beaten track of the missionaries, 
was murdered ; while Baber merely followed the route they had 
mapped out, a good part of the information which his books con- 
tain being derived from members of the Thibet Mission. Not a 
single European coming from the East has been able to get as far 
as the tomb of Father Renou, but from the village where we 
disembark the route has been fully described as far as Tatsien- 
Lou by Father Desgodins, who is still hale and hearty. We 
shall be passing several spots where French blood has flowed 
with a disinterestedness not sufficiently admired, and as we shall 
be within a few miles of the spot where Father Brieux met 
with a cruel death, we regret not being numerous or well-armed 
enough to strike terror into the men who murdered him. 

The great chief whom the Liang-tay, the paymaster-general 
at Batang, has sent to meet us is a Dungan, named Lishkiinfan; 
and this Mussulman, who has regular features, is much more 
martial in appearance than his compatriots. Like most of his 
co-religionists, he thinks that his chief duty is to invoke Allah 
and abstain from eating pork in a country where it is difficult to 
get any other sort of meat, there being no mutton or yak-flesh 
except in places like Tatsien-Lou, where there are enough 
Mussulmans to have their own slaughter-house. He, however, is 
very regular in his ablutions, and his son, who has come with 
him, is also very natty in appearance. The father, who has the 



post of inspector of the troops, with a salary of about five pounds 
a month, has come to look through the accounts and satisfy 
himself that the garrison is in good trim. 

After having drunk several cups of the fermented barley 
called tchang, and got " well on," he had the fifteen soldiers — 
ruffians with a cunning and degraded cast of countenance — 
drawn up in line, and proceeded to hold a court of justice in the 
open air. A bench was brought out and placed at the door of the 
barracks, covered with red cloth. When he had taken his seat, 
the captain of the archers sat on a stool beside him, while the 
soldiers were in a line to the left. The culprits were then brought 
forward, the first offender being a man who had been slander- 
ing others, including the wife of the captain. His calumnies 
had led to domestic unhappiness. The inspector in a A^oice 
of thunder shouts, " On your knees, sir !" and down the wretch 
goes. Then the other soldiers are bidden to kneel and, after 
a few seconds, to get up again. The inspector eventually orders 
the culprit to receive six blows on the right cheek, and after a 
moment's hesitation three men come out from the ranks, two 
of them seizing him by the arms, while the other catches him 
by the pigtail and hits him six times on the cheek with a 
half-closed fist. As the punishment is being administered, the 
inspector gets more and more excited, positively howling at 
last, " Hit him six times on the mouth ; that is where he gave 
offence." The punishment having been administered, the judge 
bids the soldiers be off ; and they, having made a military' salute 
to their chief, withdraw, the culprit coming up in turn and, with 
forehead touching the ground, thanking him sincerely for his 
goodness. The crowd disperses, the public appearing to be but 
little impressed by this scene, while the soldiers are scarcely able 
to restrain a smile, and the sufferer indulges in a grin. 

In order to dissipate the painful impression which this affair 
has created, the inspector got up an entertainment for the 



evening, the whole of the women in the garrison being collected 
in the largest room of the place. Tchang was distributed freely, 
and the ladies sang and danced. As we had got down to a level of 
3,300 feet the heat was rather trying, and the inspector, as drunk 



as Silenus, presided over the fête half-naked, seated on a platform 
in the posture of an idol. The dancing women as well as the 
singers were invited to partake of the drink, and the orgie lasted 
the best part of the night. 

Such is a glimpse of the military customs of the Chinese in 
Thibet. I do not know how the army conducts itself at Pekin, 
but I may safely say that from Kuldja to the Red River we 
saw nothing bearing the faintest resemblance to discipline, 
or having any semblance of a sense of duty, while on many 
occasions we had proofs of cowardice. These men are only 
plucky when they are many against a few, and all they can do is 
to assassinate unarmed missionaries and isolated travellers. 



A few miles beyond Tchoupalongue, on the route to Batang, 
we noticed a house at the entrance to a gorge, and learned that 
it was here Father Brieux was massacred, at the instigation 


of the lamas and the Chinese. It seemed as if the Liang-tay 
was anxious to persuade us of the insecurity of this region, for 
we were greeted by salvos of musketry fired from the tops of the 
rocks, and a little farther on were accosted by a troop of ill- 
looking rascals, who seized our horses' reius and put out their hands 


for something in return for their saintes. Needless to say that 
we showed them our whips and did not give them a farthing. 

No doubt these military demonstrations are intended to show 
that we are being well looked after. The authorities must be 
aware that we have heard of the murder of our compatriot Father 
Brieux, and think that we may have been sent to make an inquiry 
into that affair. Then, again, the dispersal of the Christian com- 
munity of Batang, the devastation of their chapel, and the pillage 
of their houses, are still more recent, dating only from 1887. It is 
known that the Thibet Mission addressed a claim to the Tsong-li- 
Yamen through the French Minister — a claim which the Chinese 
Government promised to satisfy of course, but equally of course 
did not do so. The Liang-tay is aware how reprehensible the pro- 
ceedings of the Chinese authorities are, and how much the}^ deserve 
punishment, and public rumour has it that the object of our 
journey is to exact the reparation which is due, and to re-establish 
the Christians in possession of their lands. 

When we reach Batang, situated in a pretty valley rich with 
harvest, we are treated as persons of distinction ; honour is 
paid to us, and we are lodged in the newly-built Kouen-Khan, 
which is reserved for mandarins of high rank. The lamas, how- 
ever, avoid us in the streets by running back, or taking refuge 
inside the houses ; and when we make our way towards the lama- 
house, with its high walls, surmounted by a brilliant dome, the 
priests hasten to close the massive door, as if they were afraid of 
our penetrating into this so-called temple of wisdom, which is but 
a refuge for a set of good-for-nothings. 

We paid several visits to the sites of the houses which were 
the legal property of the missionaries, and found the whole of them 
in ruins, like the chapel, between the walls of which the barley 
was sprouting. For the third season the Thibetans were about 
to reap the harvest in the fields of the mission without the Chinese 
authorities intervening, and one could not but ask what sort of a 


Government this is to which European Powers appeal for redress, 
and with which they sign treaties only observed on one side. 
It is difficult to understand why we regard seriously the Emperor 
of China, who is not obeyed — either because he does not wish 
to be, or because he lacks the power to enforce his will. A 
power which is incapable of protecting anyone, or of applying 
the most insignificant rules of police, does not deserve the name of 
a Government, and I cannot understand the course taken by the 
nations of Europe. 

Up to the present, murderers and fire-raisers have been going 
about here at Batang with perfect impunity ; and yet the 
presence of a handful of well-armed men like ourselves suffices 
to make them feel uneasy. 

Is it true that on the occasion of the Emperor's marriage all 
the diplomatists, with the exception of the Russian — though they 
do not, as a rule, agree among one another — asked to be allowed to 
offer their congratulations to the Emperor, and were refused? 
Is it true that when they attempted to make him presents, 
these presents were unceremoniously refused ? Is it true that, 
after these rebuffs, they accepted the dinner which was con- 
temptuously offered them ? Is it true that they came in full dress, 
and were received by the chief of the Tsong-li-Yamen in undress, 
and in the room where all the tributary chiefs were massed 
together ? Is it true that this latter proceeding is in the East — 
and in China more particularly — regarded as a peculiar display 
of disdain, and that it was not challenged as it should have been ? 

Perhaps I may have been misinformed, and for my own part 
I believe that our diplomatists are men of energy and prudence, 
careful of their country's interests, and of the strict observance of 
the Tientsin Treaty ; and that if there are a great many matters 
still in suspense, it is simply because they cannot do everything 
at once. 

It was to save them the trouble of reading a long report, and 


in order not to acid to the number of cases still liung up, that we 
did not send them a formal complaint against the mandarin of 
Tatsien-Lou, who behaved to us like a good Chinaman, and who, 
owing to this, obtained as a permanency the post which he 
occupied temporarily. 

At first we had some little differences at Batang with the Liang- 
tay, who insisted upon our showing him the papers we had asked 
for from Pekin, and which, as it appears, were sent to us through 
the Russian consul at Kashgar. But when we explained to him 
that, having been sent by this roundabout route, they must have 
gone astray, he appeared to be convinced that we had none, 
and let us go on without them. 

On the 24th of June we reached Tatsien-Lou, having halted 
for a while at Litang. At Tatsien-Lou we were very cordially 
welcomed by Monsignor Biet, Fathers Dejean, Giraudot, etc., 
and by an English naturalist, Mr. Pratt, who will be able to 
confirm the statement that the missionaries rendered him every 
possible service without asking him what his religious creed 
was, any more than they asked as to ours. Mr. Pratt will be 
able also to say that the mandarin of Tatsien-Lou endeavoured 
to foment an attack upon us, under the grotesque pretence thai 
we wanted to steal the treasures of the town. 

I must relate the facts of this case in some detail. Let 
me premise by stating that the Tatsien-Lou missionaries had 
for the past two years been promised passports authorising them 
to return to Batang ; but nothing had ever been done. So 
Monsignor Biet thought it as well to take advantage of our 
presence to open fresh negotiations with the mandarins of 
Fou Tchao Kong, and with the Liang-tay of Batang, Ouang Kia, 
Yong, the latter being just now at Tatsien-Lou, on his way to 
his post. A council, at which we were all present, was held, 
and the mandarins promised the missionaries their passports, 
while the new treasurer undertook to let them go with him on 



the seventeenth day of the moon. He even asked us for a re- 
volver, in order that he might be able to intimidate the Thibetans; 
and he was promised one. The engagements entered into by the 
mandarins were not, of course, meant to be kept, and on the 
morning of the fifteenth day of the moon we were officially in- 
formed that Ouang Kia Yong would start the next day — that 
is to say, twenty-four hours sooner than had been agreed, and 
that there was no sign of any passport. 

In the afternoon we sent Dedeken, in European dress, with 
the revolver that had been promised, and told him to get what 
information he could. He went to the door of the tribunal and 
handed in our cards, according to usage, and was told that the 
authorities were at table ; so he was shown into an ante-room and 
kept waiting five hours, during which time, as the room was only 
divided from that in which the meal was being served by a thin 
partition, he could hear the Chinese insulting France and the 
other European countries, the voice of the mandarin Ouang Kia 
Yong being the loudest, so anxious was he that his insults should 
reach Father Dedeken's ears. 

The festival lasted till nightfall, and then Tchao Kong, the 
mandarin of Tatsien-Lou, had the drum beaten through the town, 
and the crier was told to call out a man from each house, as the 
tribunal was in danger from the Europeans. So the people came 
rushing out— some armed with swords, others with bludgeons, 
and all with lanterns and umbrellas, for it was raining, fortunately, 
and this somewhat damped their ardour. We were unaware of all 
this, but, being uneasy as to the situation of our companion, sent 
two armed men to ask him to return. Father Dedeken was much 
surprised when he got outside to find the approaches to the 
Yamen blocked up by a large crowd. Followed by five or six 
hundred people, it suddenly occurred to him, on reaching the 
bridge across the stream, how likely they would be to throw 
him in, so he stopped, and in a loud tone, enjoined them not 



to follow him any farther. After a moment's hesitation the 
crowd turned back, and he was able to rejoin us in safety. 


These are the usual tactics of the mandarins for bringing 
about a massacre of Europeans, but they failed in this case for 
several reasons — one being that the population of Tatsien-Lou 


is chiefly composed of merchants, and is therefore of a peaceable 
disposition, while another was that the military chief, who is a 
Mussulman, and is on good terms with the missionaries, refused 
the 200 soldiers asked for. In the third place the Thibetan 
king would not move, out of antipathy to the Chinese. 

The next day the Liang-tay, Ouang Kia Yong, started for 
Batang by a roundabout route ; while the people of the Kuin- 
liangfou went about the bazaar insulting us, and saying that we 
were to be chained up and driven out like dogs, the missionaries 
sharing the same fate. The second man of the Kuinliangfou, 
one Lioupin, said that the Europeans must be killed, that he 
himself had massacred some at Tchong King, and that it was not 
a difficult matter. This, of course, was meant to frighten us. 

The mandarin, finding that he had not attained, his object, 
after waiting three or four days, sent a confidential adviser to us 
with apologies at the bishop's house. The messenger, who was 
attired in full dress, had his master's card in his hand, and said that 
the latter acknowledged himself to be solely responsible, but that 
action had been taken, by mistake, without his knowledge. Our 
reply was that we could only accept these apologies when the 
passports had been issued to the missionaries as a proof of his 
repentance being sincere. The mandarin, however, had not done 
with us }^et, for, having arranged that some things should be 
stolen from us a few days after, he then pretended to take action 
against the culprits, when, in the presence of a large audience and 
by means of false witnesses and impudent fabrications, he sought 
to discredit us. Failing violence, he resorted to calumny. We 
lodged a complaint against him with his superior at Tcheng-tou- 
fou ; but only for the form of the thing. And our complaint bore 
the usual fruit ; that is to say, he was promoted after we had 

This is a good sample of the Chinese administration to which 
European Governments appeal for justice, and to which they look 


for loyal conduct. To do so is sheer waste of time, for these 
people are cowards, and are moved solely by fear. As I write 
these lines the war vessels of European Powers are collected in 
Chinese waters, and are awaiting the result of the negotiations of 
their diplomatists with the Chinese, and it is easy to predict what 
the outcome of all this will be. The mandarins will apologise 
and pay an indemnity, they will make certain custom-house con- 
cessions, and a few ruffians who ought to have been executed long 
ago will have their heads cut off. And so the comedy will end, 
while the mandarins are congratulated by their superiors and 
promoted, the people being told that the Europeans are always 
ready to sell their lives for money, and that they make threats 
which they never cany out. 

We stayed more than a month at Tatsien-Lou to recruit our 
strength before going on to Tonquin. That we were able to carry 
out this last part of our programme is due to the kindness of 
our compatriots. 

During our journey we had formed several collections intended 
for French museums, and at Tatsien-Lou they had been consider- 
ably augmented by purchases which our fellow-countrymen had 
put us in the way of making. Had it been necessary to 
convey all this through Tonquin, it is doubtful whether we 
should ever have got through; but, fortunately for us, Mr. 
Pratt offered to take charge of our baggage until he reached 
the first French consulate, which, as we calculated, would 
be at Hankau, while we sent our photographs through the 
English consul at Tchung-King, whose name I regret not 
having by me, so that I might publicly thank him. Photo- 
graphs and collections alike reached Europe in good condition, 
and have since been exhibited in the Paris Museum of Natural 
History, where they will at present remain. Mr. Pratt was 
obliged to have our packages carried for a month overland, and 
then to purchase junks and go down the Yan-tse-Kiang as far as 


Shanghai, for our consul at Hankau being absent, Mr. Pratt 
was kind enough to go on with them. At Shanghai he went to 
M. Wagner, the French consul, who declined to have anything 
to do with the matter, and he then applied to the procurator of 
the foreign missions, who saw them on board the steamer for 
Marseilles. Thanks to Mr. Pratt, we knew that the fruits of our 
long journey were as safe as the perils of navigation on the 
Yan-tse-Kiang admitted, and so we felt that we could make for 
Tonquin without any encumbrances. We should have left 
Tatsien-Lou sooner, but we heard on the loth of JuVy that some 
Europeans, who had started from Sining-fou, were coming. How- 
ever, after vainly waiting a week for them, we left by the route 
which Baber, the English traveller, had followed. It was the 
28th of July when we bade good-bye to the members of the 
Thibet Mission, whom we cannot thank too much for their 
cordial hospitality, and from whom travellers who may be brought 
into this region by the passion for exploration are sure of receiving 
disinterested assistance, valuable information, and advice dictated 
by consummate prudence and experience. Mr. Pratt, I am quite 
sure, is of the same opinion, as well as Mr. Rokkill (?), the 
American diplomatist, who made such a daring journey from the 
Koukou-Nor to the Tatsien-Lou, by way of Jyékounda. 

It is with a heavy heart that we say good-bj^e to our fellow- 
countrymen, wishing them all success in their arduous enterprise. 
We determine to note carefully the residences of the other 
missionaries which we shall pass on the way, as being so many 
oases in the vast desolation of China. When we leave Tatsien- 
Lou we leave Thibet, and from the very first stage the eye 
wanders over moist valleys inhabited by a very dense population 
which utilises every handful of vegetable soil, and even manages 
to grow a few heads of corn in the corners of rocks, and upon the 
stony sides of the mountains. Village succeeds village with 
painful sameness. The pagodas are half to pieces, and as you 


enter the village you see figures of gods painted in bright colours 
but crumbling to pieces, and then comes a sort of triumphal arch 
on which are inscribed moral phrases like those of schoolchildren' s 
copy-books. The streets are infested by yelping curs and dirty 
pigs wallowing in the mud ; by children as dirty as the animals ; 
by women with legs the size of a chair rail, and feet like snuff- 
boxes, and by porters or mules carrying heavy loads. The inns 
are horrible dens impregnated with the most varied odours, that 
of opium not being the least unpleasant. These inns have the 
most pompous names, such as the " Polar Star," the Chinese having 
a great weakness for the four cardinal points. The staple articles 
of food are rice and pork, and eggs and chickens are to be had in 
villages, omelettes being made with the former, and soup with the 
latter ; and fish is also eaten, caught with the aid of cormorants, 
which, flung into the water from a boat, catch the fish and bring 
them to the fisher after the manner of a retriever. 

We cannot but be struck by the economy of the people, 
their parsimony, their avarice, their art in turning literally 
everything to account. Thus they make lamp wicks out of 
the heart of a certain kind of rush, and they also use this for 
cupping. They have a way of supplying what is wanting in the 
products of industry with a skill of hand and a patience beyond 
all belief, and if they did not smoke they would not indulge in a 
single superfluity. It might even be argued that the opium-smoker 
does not indulge in a superfluity, since he eats and drinks less than 
the non-smoker. In this land of hunger, where the struggle for 
existence renders people so ferocious and pitiless, the essential 
thing is to keep body and soul together, and I have seen men 
dropping from inanition on the roadway and the Chinese 
stepping over them without offering to give them assistance. 
The famishing wretch might die, and his body would lie there 
without anyone taking notice of it. 

In the regions we traversed before reaching Yunnan, we 


saw no display of the sentiment which certain people call 
altruism. In these populous regions of the Setchouen no one 
has time to think of others, the difficulty of getting a bare sub- 
sistence being so great that it seems to have hardened men's 
hearts towards their fellows. 

Our carriers are poor wretches who have been recruited 
specially for the work, and have scarcely a rag upon their 
bodies. They feed on dried biscuits, Indian corn cooked in oil, 
and what rice is to be had at inns on the roadside. But they 
all have their opium-pipe, and when the imperious need for the 
drug begins to make itself felt, they quicken their steps so as to 
reach the inn where the contractor is awaiting them with the 
opium which constitutes the bulk of their pay. These inns, in 
which we try to sleep, are, however, so infested with vermin that 
we cannot, as a rule, close our eyes ; so we even look back with 
regret upon those of Thibet, which at the time seemed so 
revolting. We are much struck by the enormous loads of tea 
carried by men over very steep paths. It appears that these men 
belong to families in which the occupation is hereditary, and that 
they form a corporation. 

At Fou-lin we quit the high road, which goes on east, and make 
our way towards the Yunnan over the highlands of the Tien Shan. 
On the road we come upon Chinese towns and villages formed 
chiefly of emigrants from the Setchouen, the mountain being 
inhabited by the Lolos, a tall race of men with long feet, very 
energetic and warlike, and inspiring great terror among the 
Chinese, whom they rob whenever they get the chance. 

The Chinese whom we encounter in this district appear to be 
a most wretched set of beings, very small, eaten up with fever, 
and disfigured by enormous goitres. They are, as a rule, 
inoffensive, but we meet with occasional difficulties in the 
populous places, the inhabitants sometimes insulting us, and 
throwing stones at the doors of the inn where we are lodging, 



although, on these occasions, the mandarins tell us that we are 
quite safe within the precincts of their tribunal. We inform 
the crowd that, if one of them dares to lay hands on us, we shall 

shoot him, while the mandarins are told that we shall hold them 
responsible for any blood shed. This has the desired effect; and it 
is the same with the future bachelors of letters whom we meet 
on the road, this being the period for examinations, for although 




tliey are often more numerous than we are, and apply very in- 
sulting expressions to us, we never hesitate to use our sticks, and 
keep them in their place. We would rather die than let ourselves 
insulted ; and it was by acting upon this feeling at all risks that 
we were able to go along the banks of the Red River, after a 
halt at Yunnan-Eou and another at Mong-tse, where our consul, 
M. Leduc, and the Europeans employed in the custom-house 
received us very cordially. 

We embarked upon the Red River, which well deserves 
its name, on the 22nd of September, having, since we left 
the frontier of Siberia, travelled nearly 3,750 miles either on 
foot or on horseback, so it will be readily understood how 
delighted we were to stretch ourselves on the junk which M. 
Jansen, the Danish telegraph engineer, had engaged for us. 
On the evening of that da}' we were at the post of Bac-Sat, on 
French soil, and on the 25th at Lao-kai, where M. Laroze gave 
us a very friendly reception, and where we changed our junk. 
This was but the prelude to many more such receptions during 
our progress through the colon} r , while at Hanoï itself M. Raoul 
Bonnal and General Bichot were most cordial, as indeed was the 
whole population of Tonquin, to whom we here tender our sincere 
thanks. If we were struck by the beauty of the Red River, not 
less so were we by the comfort and liveliness of Hanoï ; while 
from what we saw of the delta — of the wealth of vegetation, and 
the extreme fertility of an inexhaustible soil — we could only 
conclude that this is a colony out of which a great deal may be 
made. All that is needed is that an agreement should be arrived 
at concerning this child, whose advent, being rather unexpected, 
upset certain calculations and plans. But he, I believe, has a 
future, and will make his way in the world if projDer care is 
taken of him. 

Every one is aw r are that it is easier and quicker to get back 
from Tonquin by sea than to traverse the ancient continent of 



Asia in order to get to it. For the return voyage we embarked 
at Haiphong, and so by Hong-Kong to Marseilles. At Hong- 
Kong we sent our Chinaman back to his native land ; he was to 

return in company with some Belgian missionaries. That vain 
little fellow Abdullah, who has some good qualities all the same, 
left us at Port Said, while Eachmed was to accompany us to Paris 
before returning to Russian Turkestan, and Father Dedeken is 



going to spend a little time in Belgium. Before laying clown the 
pen, I would add that we are all very well satisfied with the 
results of our journey, and must thank my companions for the 
confidence they reposed in me, and for having worked with all 
their might to carry out a somewhat daring scheme. We have 
all done the best we could : we hope we may be excused for not 
having done more. 




Abdallah, Villages of, I. 79, 82, 88, 89, 102, 
104, 105, 106, 116. 

Abdullah, interpreter, I. 6, 23, 43, 57, 64, 75, 
79, 82 ; makes an exchange with Kunshi 
Khan Beg, 89; 96,112, 142, 144, 156,166; 
lost in a storm, 199 ; and the sources of 
Brahma - Pootra, 217; interview with 
Thibetan chiefs, II. 15; and the ambassa- 
dors from Lhassa, 38 ; drinks the Amban's 
spirits, 90 ; 220. 

Agricultural implements of Thibetans, II. 

Aïriligane, I., 68. 

Akker, Village of, II. 166. 

Aktarma, I. 62, 63 ; characteristics of the 
people of, 64 ; migration, and primitive 
implements of the inhabitants of, 65. 

Almonds, I. 46. 

Altars to Buddha, I. 36. 

Altitude of mountains, Enormous. I. 207. 

Altyn Tagh, The, I. 103, 113, 128 ; appear- 
ance of, 132, 173. 

Amban Ashkan Dawan, Pass of, I. 156, 159, 
163; ascent of the, 167. 

Amban of Lhassa, The, II. 37, 39, 41-45; 
tent of, 50 ; salutes the travellers in 
French, 80 ; hospitality of, 83. 

Andidjan, I. 58. 

Antelopes, I. 67 ; II. 27, 100. 

Apple-trees, I. 20, 42. 

Apricot-trees, I. 20, 42. 

Aqueducts for irrigating fields, II. 154. 

Ara, II. 179. 

Archan Buluk spring, I. 35. 

Arkan, Characteristics and wretched condition 
of the people of, I. 69. 

Arkars, I. 30, 164, 204. 

Arrack, II. 46. 

Aryk River, I. 117. 

Ata, Ismail, I. 98. 

Atentze, II. 188. 

Attagout Agha, I. 97. 

Ba, II. 167. 

Baber, missionary in Thibet, II. 196, 211. 
Bac-Sat, II. 219." 
Bagh Tokai encampment, I. 156. 
Balgoun Louk, Encampment at, I. 163. 
Barachdin, I. 76, 103. 
Barantashis (horse stealers), I. 20. 
Barberries, I. 12. 

JBarkhans, I. 183; demolished by a tempest, 

Barley, purchased at Kourla, I. 43 ; grown at 

Aktarma, 65. 
Bata-Soumdo, II. 117, 118. 
Batang, I. 6, 111, 158; II. 153; destruction 

of the mission at, 175, 202; treatment of 

the travellers at, 202-204. 
Bazaars at Kourla, I. 42, 43. 
Beard, Signs made with the, I. 127, 

Bears, II. 96, 101, 159, 163. 
Beggars at So, II. 111. 
Bela-Szechny, Count, I. 6; II. 196. 
Bichat, General, II. 219. 
Biet, Monsignor, and the Batang mission, II. 

85, 175; his reception of the travellers at 

Tatsien-Lou, 204. 
Birch-trees, I. 58 ; II. 153. 
Birds in the desert, I. 72, 78. 
Black-tree, The, I. 39. 
Blue River, I. 205; II. 194. 
Boars, I. 25, 69, 102. 
Bokalik, I. 117, 136; gold mines in the 

neighbourhood of, 164. 
Bokhara, I. 52. 
Bones, A valley of, I. 206. 
Bonnal, M. Raoul, II. 219. 
Bonvalot, M., reference to bv Prince Henry 

of Orleans, I. 75, 76, 108, 'l09. 
Borokusté River, The, I. 31. 
Botchou River, II. 99. 
Bougou Bashi, I. 72. 
Boulak Bashi, I. 140. 
Bouran, The, I. 193. 
Bread at Kourla, I. 43. 
Briars, II. 144. 

Brieux, Father, Murder of, II. 196, 201. 
Bridge of Sougomba, II. 154. 
Brigands, Chinese treatment of, I, 11 ; seizing 

the travellers' horses, II. 193. 
Broom, Prickly, I. 63. 
Brushwood, II. 112, 116, 120. 
Buddha : Images of, used for healing purposes, 

1.16; statue of, in a Lama monastery, 18 ; 

altars to, 36 ; images placed with engraved 

prayers under trees, II. 80 ; consecration 

of males to, 155. 
Buddhism, I. 10 ; and the transmigration of 

the soul, 14 ; inscriptions on mountains, 

Burben-cho Ré Mountains, II. 20, 25. 
Burben-cho, Salt deposit at, II. 11, 15, 19, 

Burial customs, I. 101. 



Camels, I. 26 ; indications of approaching 
death in, 29 ; feeding on yantag, 36 ; 
crossing a river on a raft, 60 ; terrify 
natives, 69 ; wild, 82, 87 ; mounting the 
Kouni Dawan, 140 ; crossing the ice, 172 ; 
Minded by sand, 196 ; death from ex- 
haustion, II. 53. 

Camp de la Miséricorde, I. 180. 

Canon, Picturesque, near the Koum Dawan, 
I. 134. 

Caravan, Organisation of a, I. 4. 

Carbuncles caused by the cold, I. 166. 

Carey the traveller, I. 1, 62, 111, 112, 126, 
131, 146, 159. 

Cata, The Thibetan, II. 41, 152. 

Catholic ritual, Relics of, at Lhassa, II. 

Caverdak, I. 78. 

Celibacy, Yow of, II. 155. 

Cemetery at Abdallah, I. 102, 103. 

Chamois of the Himalaya, The, I. 205. 

Changka, II. 174, 176; reception of the 
travellers at, 178 ; the lamas of, 184. 

Chartres, Duc de, I. 2. 

Cherry-trees, II. 153. 

Children, Mortality of, I. 100; offered to 
Moloch, II. 155; sandals of, 194. 

China, Yalleys of, I. 2 ; emigration in, 8 ; 
filthiness of inns in, II. 192, 212, 

Chinese, Perfidy of, towards Europeans, I. 
49; taxes levied by, 67, 89, 164; thieving 
propensities of the, 97 ; their obstinacy 
and pride, 167 ; their heartlessness, 188, 
212; at Bata-Sumdo, II. 117; clannish- 
ness of, 123 ; soldiers at Houmda, 149 ; 
their unfeeling disposition contrasted with 
the kindness of heart of the Thibetans, 
164, 165; ferocity of the children, 165; 
mode of salutation, 167 ; adepts in compli- 
ments, 169; specimens of soldiers, 171; 
their futile promises, 175, 180; soldiers 
useless in Thibet, 191 ; punishments, 199 ; 
lack of discipline in the army, 201 ; power- 
lessness of the emperor, 203 ; contemptuous 
treatment of foreign diplomatists, 203 ; 
insults to foreign countries, 207 ; their 
cowardice, 210; their parsimony and 
avarice, 212; hatred of foreigners, 215. 

Chinese governor, Hospitality of, I. 7. 

Chinese servants, I. 6. 

Clematis, II. 194. 

Coins, Thibetan, II. 108. 

Cold, intense, I. 202, 210, II. 1, and passim. 

Columbus Mountains, I. 173, 175, 179. 

Cones, Lake of, I. 203. 

Cones of ice, I. 211. 

Cooper, missionary in Thibet, II. 196. 

Copper mine near the Kunges, I. 19. 

Coin, Grinding, I. 91. 

( 'ou/.netzoff, I. 76, 102. 

Cranes, II. 95. 

Crossoptilons, II. 147. 

Crows with "metallic croak," I. 215, 217. 

Csoma the Hungarian, and his Thibetan 

dictionary, II. 195. 
Curlews, II. 144. 

Dala Pass, II. 144. 

Dâlgleish the traveller, I. 159. 

Dam, Pass of, II. 46, 96. 

Dameloune Mountains, II. 187. 

Dancers, Thibetan, II. 135. 

Dandelion, I. 217. 

Détehou River, II. 147. 

Dedeken, Father, Belgian missionary, I. 5, 6, 
75, 76, 83, 97, 120, 150, 158 ; amusing- 
interview with a Dungan, 161, 172, 175; 
at the burial of Niaz, 193; 200; II. 13; and 
the Thibetan chief, 19 ; taken for a China- 
man, 20 ; 140 ; and the mandarins of 
Tatsien-Lou, 207 ; 220. 

Deer, I. 25; II. 120, 147, 154. 

Dejean, Father, II. 204. 

Desert, Fascination of life in the, I. 24 ; birds 
in the, 72; solitude of the, 77 ; reed grass, 
and blue pools of the, 78 ; journey through 
the, 163. 

Desert-sickness, I. 131. 

Desgodins, Father, II. 85, 177, 188, 195, 196. 

Deutchmé, I. 98 ; II. 144. 

Di-Ti, II. 72, 77. 

Diogenes of Velasquez, The, II. 20. 

Divers, Black, II. 96. 

Djashas, The, II. 67, 73. 

Djahan Saï River, I. 132 ; granite in the 
valley of the, 133, 143. 

Djala Mountains, II. 147. 

Djankalo (Changka), II. 167. 

Djarkent, I. 3 ; recruiting men at, 4 ; start 
from, 4 ; 9 ; II. 32. 

Djaucounnene, II. 96. 

Djiddas, I. 63. 

Dogs, the travellers' watchmen, II. 13, 30 ; of 
Thibetans, 96; at So, 111 ; 128. 

Dotou, II. 167 ; the lama-house, and prayer- 
mills at, 170. 

Duck, Red, I. 88, note. 

Ducks, Flesh of, I. 96, II. 95. 

Dungans, The, I. 42, 44, 70, 169. 

Dupleix Mountains, I. 206, 207. 

Dust, Clouds of, assuming singular shapes, II. 

Dzcrine, II. 160, 163. 

Eagles, Black, I. 199 ; II. 100. 
Edelweiss, I. 28, 212. 
Eglantines, II. 194. 
Electrical phenomenon, II. 114. 
Elephants, I. 61. 
Elms, I. 38. 

Emigration in China, I. 8. 
Eutin, I. 95. 

Extortions of Thibetan chiefs, II. 116. 
Eyes, Inflammation of the, through a hurri- 
cane, 195. 



Fage, Father, IL 177, 195. 

Falcons, I. 199. 

Fat mixed with hread, I. 43 ; for frost-bitten 

foot, 196. 
Feet, Frost-bitten, I. 196. 
Ferghana, The, I. 40, 44, 58. 
Ferrier Mountain, I. 188. 
Fieldfares, I. 67. 
Figs, I. 42. 

Fir-trees, II. 144 ; forests of, 147. 
Flour purchased at Kourla, I. 43. 
Fording a river, Novel mode of, II. 134. 
Forests on mountains, I. 23. 
Fossils at 19,000 feet, I. 209. 
Fou-lin, II. 215. 
Foxes, I. 135, 188; II. 163. 
Frost-bitten feet, I. 196. 
Frozen geysers, I. 211, 215. 
Frozen meat, I. 211. 

Gabet, missionary, I. Ill, 203; II. 36, 177, 

Garments made from the tchiga plant, I. 68; 

from wild hemp, 91. 
Gashar, I. 97. 
Gatine, II. 92, 93. 
Gazelles, I. 23, 69, 79, 133, 135. 
Geese, Wild, I. 78, 88 (note) ; II. 95. 
Géodes, I. 76. 

Geographical Society of England, I. 111. 
Geysers, Frozen, I. 211, 215. 
Ghadik River, I. 38. 

Gill, English explorer in Thibet, II. 195. 
Giometchou Eiver, II. 152 ; breadth at Lamda, 

Giraudot, Father, II. 204. 
Goats of nomads, II. 94. 
Gobi Desert, Mongolia, The, I. 62, 128. 
Goitres, II. 116, 156. 215. 
Gold said to be found at Kizii Sou Eiver, I. 

Gold mines in the neighbourhood of Bokalik, 

I. 164. 
Goumbas, I. 62. 
Granite in the valley of the Djahan-Saï, I. 

Grapes, I. 42. 
Grass of the highlands, Peculiar character of 

the, I. 212; drying, II. 114. 
Gratou, unsociability of inhabitants, II. 139. 
Greediness of Thibetans, II. 5. 
Grottoes, II. 144. 
Gulls, White, II. 95. 

Haiphong, II. 219. 

Hami, Oasis of, I. 44. 

Handglasses given to natives, II. 30. 

Hannibal crossing the Rhône, I. 61. 

Hanoi, II. 219. 

Hares, I. 67, 108, 109, 163, 165, 168, 203, 

Haschisch, Smoking, I. 114, 149. 
Hassar, Village of, II. 163 ; a street in, 164. 
Hastings, Lord, I. 41. 


Headache relieved by snow, II. 116. 
Hemp, I. 20. 

Henry, Prince, of Orleans, I. 2, 6 ; kills a 
stag, 28 ; photographs a lama, 30 ; photo- 
graphs some Torgots, 38 ; 46 ; threatened 
with arrest at Kourla, 49 ; 116 ; 120 ; peril- 
ous position of, 135 ; 147; 158; 172; 174; 
175; 178; finds the track of Kalmuck 
pilgrims, 194 ; leads the camels, 195, 196; 
197; kills two orongos, 200; kills a yak, 
205; 212; photographs the first Thibetan 
native encountered by the travellers, II. 
2 ; photographs a Thibetan dwelling, 24 ; 
Hermit, Dwelling of a, II. 95. 
Honeymoon before marriage, II. 134. 
Hong-Kong, II. 219. 
Hop-vines, I. 20. 

Horse-stealing by the Kirghis, I. 27. 
Horses, Fastening up, in the desert, I. 77 ; 
instinct of, 84, 108 ; lost on the moun- 
tains, 181 ; effect of frost on the eyes of, 
195 ; death of, from over-drinking, 206 ; 
loss of strength from cold, 212 ; feeding 
on raw flesh, II. 67 ; cleverness of, 101 ; 
of Tsonron, 173. 
Hot springs, I, 205, 211, 217; II. 35, 159. 
Houmda, II. 149. 
Hounds, I. 125. 
Houses, Material used in the construction of, 

II. 149, 154; decorations on, 191. 
Hue, Father, his narratives of travel, I. 2, 
111; 203; II. 26, 36; and the relics of 
Catholic ritual in Thibet, 85 ; 177, 195. 
Huns, The, and their horses, I. 61. 
Huts of Thibetans, II. 114. 
Hydromel, II. 122. 

la-La Mountain, II. 103, 108. 

Iabshcm plant, The, I. 174, 211. 

Iça, servant to the travellers, I. 114, 149 ; II. 

Ice, Cones of, I. 211. 

Hi, Province of, I. 7 ; fertility of, 7 ; its trans- 
ference to China, 8 ; emigration from, 9 ; 

and the Torg-ots, 35, 46 ; sheep of, 71. 
Images of Buddha used for healing purposes, 

I. 16; deposited on obos, 31; given to 

Thibetans, II. 140. 
Imatch, camel-driver, I. 26 ; his reflections 

about camels and sheep, 71 ; 112, 141, 196; 

his feet frost-bitten, II. 7 ; illness of, 25 ; 

his death, 31. 
Inns, Chinese, Filthiness of, II. 192, 212, 215. 
Instinct of a horse, I. 84. 
Intchigué-Darya River, The, I. 62. 
"Invisible horsemen," I. 216. 
Iron manufactory at Lagoun, II. 150. 
Ithaginis, II. 153. 

Jasmine, II. 194. 

Jujube-trees, I. 38, 68. 

Junipers, II. 35, 107, 112, 115, 116, 144, 147. 



Kabchigué-gol, Defile of, I. 31 ; meaning of 

word, 32. 
Kala Mountain, II. 155. 

Kalmucks, The : their characteristics and 
harsh treatment by the Kirghis, I. 10; and 
the Torgots, 35 ; and the inhabitants of 
Aktarma, 64; 103, 148, 176, 194; II. 
Kama, The, I 3. 
Kampir plant, The, I. 174. 
Kara Koum, The, I. 62. 
Karakoutchoun, I. 97. 98. 
Kara Bourane River, I. 107, 109. 
Karakoyuk, I. 98. 
Karashar, Lake of, I. 38; Governor of, and 

the travellers, 47, 51; 103. 
Kara Shote, I. 146. 
Kargalik (Tcharkalik), I. 97, 98. 
Karimeta, II. 143. 
Kash, The, I. 8, 11. 
Kashgar, Emigrants from, I. S ; 9 ; governed 

by Yakoob-Beg, 40. 
Kela Mountains, II. 116. 
Kemezetiantché Lake, I. 107. 
Ken-Si, II. 108, 123. 
Kérémata, Abdu, I. 80. 
Khan of the Torgots, The, II. 43. 
Khiva, I. 52. 
Khotan, I. 98. 

Kin-sha-Kiang Biver, II. 194. 
Kirghis, Siberian, I. 9 ; their depredations on 
Kalmucks, 10; wearing tablets as pass- 
ports, 11; formation of their skulls, 14; 
source of livelihood, and cheerfulness, 20 ; 
addicted to horse-stealing, 27 ; feuds with 
the Mongols, 28 ; their broad faces, 58 ; 66. 
Kissing amongst natives, I. 127. 
Kitchou River, II. 100. 
Kizil Sou River, I. Ill, 116, 121; gold said to 

be found at, 136. 
Kontché-Darya, The, I. 40, 42, 57, 58 ; raft for 

crossing the, 60. 
Koushou, II. 186, 187. 
Koukou Nor, I. 203. 
Koukou Nor River, I. Ill ; II. 77. 
Koukouiamanes, I. 143. 
Koul toukmit Koul, Blain of, I. 63. 
Koiilmis. I. 133, 147, 165, 174, 177, 20"5 ; II. 

Koum Davvan Mountain, I. 134, 140. 
Kountsetinnc, II. 191. 

Kourla, I. 40, 41 ; general appearance, and the 
people of, 42 ; the travellers threatened 
with arrest at, 47 ; start of the caravan 
from, 52 ; chiefs of, and the travellers, 55- 
57; 98; 111. 
Koushoune, II. 159. 
Kreitner, explorer in Thibet, II. 196. 
Kuldja, I. 4; Russian consul at, 6; 39, 58, 

112, 120. 
Kumshap Khan, I. 92. 
Kunges, Vallev of the, I. 12, 19. 
Kunshi Khan Beg, I. 82, 84, 89. 
Kuntchi Khan, a Lob chief, I, 132. 

Lagoun, II. 149; iron manufactory at, 150. 
Lake of Cones, I. 203. 
Lake Montcalm, I. 205, 206. 
Lama, Grand, Description of a, and his recep- 
tion of travellers, I. 15, 16. 
Lamaism, Supposed derivation of, II. 143. 
Lamas, Tents of the, I. 13, 18, 83; appear- 
ance of the, II. 42 ; chanting prayers and 
blowing trumpets, 51, 52; makers of medi- 
cine, 53; travelling, 101, 102; of the 
monastery of So, 106 ; training-school for, 
117 ; initiation of, 126 ; mendicant, 132; of 
Karimeta, 141 ; female, 142; house of, at 
Djala Pass, 148 ; of Ouoshishoune, 160 ; 
house at Dzérine, 163; house at Dotou, 
167; of Changka, 183. 
Lamda, II. 152, 153 ; the Giomtchou River at, 

Lamé, II. 152. 

Lammergeiers, II. 35, 53, 102. 
Landscape, A typical Pomeranian, I. 65. 
Lao-kai, II. 219. 

Larks, I. 67, 178, 182, 199, 211 ; II. 80, 93. 
Laroze, M., II. 219. 
Latchou River, II. 159. 
Leduc, M., French consul at Mong-tse, II. 

Leindiinne, II. 188. 
Lendjoune, II. 166. 
Lepsinsk, I. 20. 

Lhassa, Supplications brought from, I. 15 
statue of Grand Lama of, 16; 19, 103; 
route to, by the Kizil Sou, 111 ; pilgrims 
from, 155 ; 218 ; II. 6, 7, 8, 18 ; the " city 
of spirits," 33 ; ambassadors from, 36, 37 ; 
the Amban of, 37-45 ; visit to the travel- 
lers at Dam of chiefs from, 55 ; a hotbed 
of intrigue, 69 ; presents for the travellers 
from, 84 ; reputed resort of countless pil- 
grims, 18S. 
Lilac-trees, II. 155. 
Liquorice-plants, I. 12, 20, 38. 
Litang, II. 204. 

Lob Nor, The, I. 4, 49, 51, 52, 62, 63,73; 

journey to, 76; characteristics of the 

people in, 80 ; the great " lake " of, 90, 

109; work of the sand at, 99, 110, 206. 

Lobi chiefs refuse aid to the travellers, I. 

Lobis, The, I. 144, 145, 169, 170. 
Loczi, explorer in Thibet, II. 196. 
Lolos, The, II. 215. 
Lorin, Henri, I. 2. 
Lottery, A singular, near Sérésumdo, II. 132. 

Macaroni, Chinese, I. 84. 

Madman at Bata-Soumdo, The, and the mir- 
ror, II. 118. 

Mahomet, Festival of, at Tcharkalik, I. 115. 

Maktchou River, II. 167. 

Malthusianism, Religious, II, 155. 

Mandalik, I. 146. 

Mandarins, The, and passports for foreigners, 
I. 6 ; enticing Russian peasants to settle in 



Chinese territory, 9 ; of Kourla, 44 ; 

threatening travellers, 57 ; from Lhassa, 

56; of Changka, II. 178. 
Mardjan Agha, I. 97. 
Marriage customs, I. 100, 105 ; II. 122-127, 

Marseilles, II. 219. 

Massacre of Thibetans by the Sopkou, II. 165. 
Mazar, I. 8, 9, 11. 
Meat, Frozen, I. 211. 
Mekong River, II. 152. 
Melons, I. 39, 42, 46, 64. 
Mendicant lamas, II. 132. 
Mesny, explorer in Thibet, II. 196. 
Mienshari, I. 97. 
Mill, Thibetan, II. 23. 

Mirages, due to salt, 1. 76, 108, 1 26, 168 ; II. 16. 
Mission, Destruction of the Batang, II. 175, 

Monastery, Lama, I. 15, 16, 18; at So, 11.93, 

105, 112. 
Money-lender at So, A, II. 108, 111. 
Mong-tse, II. 219. 
Mongols, Physiognomy of, I. 10 ; method of 

threshing wheat, 12; tea-drinking of, 16 ; 

poverty and uncleanliness, and the ugliness 

of the women, 19 ; their feuds with the 

Kirghis, 28 ; physical traits, 35, 97 ; II. 

Monkeys, I. 210; IT, 96, 156. 
Montcalm Lake, I. 205, 206. 
Moscow, I. 3. 
Moula Kourghan, I. 163. 
Mountain sickness, I. 141, 142, 166; remedy 

for, 166, 183. 
Mountains covered with forests, I. 23 ; with 

surface of salt, 30 ; Buddhist inscription 

on, 31; a wilderness of, 198-218; like 

waves, 204 ; Dupleix, 206, 207 ; enormous 

altitude of, 207. 
Music and dancing at Tchinagi, I. 59. 
Musk-deer, II. 120, 147, 154. 
Mutton, Salted, at Kourla, I. 43. 

Nain-Singh, the pundit, II. 34. 

Namtso, 1. 158, 218 ; II. 8, 11, 23 ; description 
of, 38 ; arrival of travellers at, 34 ; the 
" Heavenly Lake," 54. 

Naptchou, The, II. 77, 92. 

Natural History Museum, Paris, and the col- 
lection of M. Bonvalot, I. 206 (note). 

Nia, I. 164. 

Niaz, Death and burial of, I. 191-193. 

Nigan, II. 83. 

Nijm-Novgorod, I. 3. 

Nilka, The, I. 12. 

Ningling Tangla, II. 8, 11, 12, 27, 32; 
striking appearance of, 33, 74. 

Niouma, or turnip, II. 115; cattle fed with, 

Nouniaz Agha, I. 97. 

Oak-trees, II. 172. 
Obo Pass, I. 143. 

Obos, I. 31, 32, 168, 210; II. 99, 128, 103; 

enormous specimen at Tchoungo, 143 ; 187. 
Oil, Sesamum, I. 43. 

Ointment on the faces of Thibetans, II. 5. 
Omdjamtchou River, II. 100. 
Omsk, I. 3. 

Omtchou River, II. 99. 
Opium-smoking, II. 108, 212. 
Orongos, I. 178, 188, 194, 201. 
Orosses (Russians), I. 35. 
Ouloug Koul, I. 66 ; reception of travellers 

by the chief of, 67. 
Ouoshishoune, II. 159 ; lamas of, 160. 
Ourga, II. 52. 
Ouroumitchi, I. 47, 159. 
Ourtchou River, II. 92, 99, 100. 
Ouzoun Tchor River, I. 146, 149. 

Pa-Lan (i.e., English or Russians), II. 14, 15. 

Pashalik, I. 146. 

Pagoda of a Lama monastery, Description of a, 

I. 18; at Djala Pass, II. 147. 
Palao-meat, I. 28, 144, 163, 211. 
Pamir, The, I. 2, 41; II. 27, 102. 
Pansies, I. 28. 

Parasols of Chinese soldiers, II. 178. 
Paris, Route to Tonquin from, I. 2; exhibi- 
tion of, 2, 3. 
Parpa, servant of the travellers, I. 43, 44 ; 
beats natives of Arkan, 70; 112; 117; 156; 
170; II. 25, 90. 
Partridges, I. 35, 142, 165, 168, 210; II. 113, 

Passports, I. 6; amongst the Kirghis, 11; 
demanded at Kourla, 46 ; shown to a 
Thibetan chief, II. 19; for missionaries at 
Tatsien-Lou, 204. 
Peat pits, I. 30. 
Pekin, I. 112. 

Pelisse of Thibetan, II. 2, 18. 
Pepper-trees, I. 20. 
Petchili, Gulf of, I. 41. 
Petzoff, Russian traveller, I. 73. 
Pheasants, in the valley of the Kunges, I. 12 ; 

67, 153; II. 163. 
Phenomenon, Electric, II. 114. 
Photographing a lama, I. 30 ; some Torgots, 

Pickpockets at Kourla, I. 51. 
Pigeons, II. 27. 
Pigtails of Thibetans, II. 8. 
Pilgrims, I. 150, 155 ; camp of, 195, 196 ; II. 

Pine forests, II. 156, 173. 
Pipes for smoking, Thibetan, II. 114. 
Pirojki, I. 84. 

Ploughing, Methods of, II. 112, 164. 
Poioundo, II. 120. 
Poisoned rivers, I. 68. 
Polyandry, II. 124. 
Polygamy, II. 124, 126. 
Pomeranian landscape, A typical, I. 65. 
Ponies of Thibetans, II. 5. 
Poplars in the valley of the Kunges, I. 12; 



20 ; forest of, 59 ; 62, 63 ; at Talkitchin, 

71; 108; II. 153, 166. 
Poptchou River, II. 100. 
Porphyry. I. 168. 
Portrait drawn by a lama, II. 130. 
Poula, II. 186. 
Pratt. Mr., English collector at Tatsien-Lou, 

II. 204, 210, 211. 

Prayer-mills, II. 27, 99, 128 ; at Dotou, 170 ; 

Prayers of Buddhists, I. 18, 37 ; written on 
canvas and on slabs, and left at obos, 31 ; 
at burials, 101 ; on tents, II. 12 ; engraved 
on schist, 23, 79; written on stones, 26, 
128; chanted by lamas, 51, 141; turned 
by windmills, 143; for rain, 184, 185. 

Prjevalsky, the traveller, I. 1, 2, 6, 19, 40, 41, 
46, 62, 79, 82, 88 (note), 89; and the 
Lake of Lob Nor, 90; 97 (note) ; 99, 107, 

III, 126, 168; and the Columbus Moun- 
tains, 173; and the Koukou route, 203; 
II. 95, 195. 

Pumpkins, I. 91. 

Rachmed, I. 3, 4, 6, 28 ; opinion of the 
Chinese, 46; 52, 108, 115, 119; beats a 
Lobi chief, 122; 125, 142, 144, 149, 155, 
167, 171 ; lost on the mountains, 184 ; his 
sage advice to the travellers, 207 ; stoned 
by Thibetans, II. 140 ; 220. 

Rachmed, Ata, I. 57, 58. 

Raft for crossing the Kontché- Darya, I. 61. 

Raisins purchased at Kourla, I. 43. 

Raspberries, I. 12; II. 155, 173. 

Rats of the mountains, I. 199 ; II. 80. 

Reclus Volcano, The, I. 188. 

Red River, The, II. 219 ; beauty of, 219. 

Red soil near Akker, II. 166. 

Reed grass, I. 78. 

Reeds in the Tarim, I. 92. 

Renou, Father, II. 174, 177, 195, 196. 

Rheumatism cured at Archan Buluk spring, 
I. 35 ; attacking women, 100 ; marmot fat 
as a cure for, 1 17. 

Rhododendrons, II. 120, 144, 147, 153. 

Rhubarb plant, The, I. 212, 217. 

Richthofen, the traveller, I. 6. 

Ritchimbo, II. 115. 

River, Novel mode of fording a, II. 134. 

Rivers poisoned by vegetable matter, I. 68. 

Rokkill (?), Mr., American diplomatist, II. 

Routéoundo, II. 156. 

Routchi, II. 144. 

Ruins of dwellings near Sérésumdo, II. 131 ; 
in the valley of the Mahtchou, 165. 

Ruysbruk Volcano, named after the Flemish 
traveller, I. 194, 198. 

Saia, Meaning of, I. 119. 
SaJtlis, or tents for the winter, I. 38. 
Sahsaoul, I. 131, 133. 

Salt on mountains, I. 30; mixed with bread, 
43 ; on the roads, 65 on the banks of the 

Tarim. 69; at Talkitchin, 71 : on the road 

to Lob, 76 ; ponds, 92 ; on the Ouzoun 

Tchor, 146; in the desert, 174; of 

Burben-cho, II. 11. 
Saltpetre, I. 97, 109. 
Salutation, Thibetan modes of, II. 2, 8, 18, 

48, 98. 
Samarkand, I. 4, 7. 
Samda Kansain Mountains, II. 68, 74. 
Samda-Tchou River, II. 68. 
Sand, "Waves of, I. 1 74 ; fantastic scene from, 

Sandhills, I. 62, 63, 67, 72, 175, 196. 
Sarthians of Turkestan, I. 58, 66. 
Sasan, a chief of the Kirghis, I. 20. 
Satchou, II. 155. 

Schist, Prayers engraved on, II. 23, 79. 
Sétchou River ; II. 147, 148. 
Setchouen, I. 151 ; II. 212. 
Semipalatinsk, I. 3, 58. 
Sérésumdo, II. 130. 
Shanghai, I. 5. 
Shaven heads, II. 155. 
Sheep, Buying, I. 55 ; of Hi, 71. 
Shepherds, Thibetan, II. 4, 94. 
Shèr Agha, I. 97. 
Shisougoune River, II. 194. 
Siberia, I. 39. 
Sibos, I. 9. 

Sickness, Desert, I. 131. 
Sickness, Mountain, I. 141, 142, 143, 166, 

Silos, II. 23. 

Sinin-Fou, I. 159; II. 79, 154, 211. 
Sling, Skill of Thibetans with the, II. 102. 
Smallpox in the region of the Tchershène, I. 

74, 100. 
Snipe, II. 144. 
Snow on the mountains, I. 12, 23 ; on Ning- 

ling Tangla, II. 33 ; relieving headache, 

Snuff-box of a Thibetan, II. 2. 
Snuff-taking, by natives of Arkan, I. 70 ; by 

ambassadors from Lhassa, II. 45. 
So, II. 93, 103; lama-house at, 105; singular 

construction of the houses at, 106; palace 

at, 106. 
Soap, Sap of tougrak trees used as, I. 67. 
Sokpou, The, their massacre of Thibetans, II. 

Solitude of the desert, I. 24. 
Solons, I. 9. 

Songs, Native, I. 97, 118, 132; II. 135. 
So-tchou River, II. 100, 112. 
Soubrou, II. 77. 
Soudjou, Valley of, II. 115. 
Sougomba, Bridge of, II. 154. 
Sounds, Peculiar, in high altitudes, I. 202. 
Souti, II. 115. 
Sparrows, II. 27, 111. 
Spinning-wheel of a Thibetan, II. 3. 
Spring of Archan Buluk, I. 35. 
Springs, Hot, I. 205, 211, 217; II. 35, 159. 
St. Denys, Marquis d'Hervey de, I. 48. 



Stags, I. 212. 

Stags at Bougou Bashi, I. 72. 

Storm in the defile of Kabchigué-gol, I. 32. 

Sugar, its effect on the Thibetans, II. 11, 18. 

Swallows, I. 88, 117. 

Swans, Wild, I. 88, 107. 

Syringas, II. 194. 

Ta-Amban, The, II. 56-62, 71-73, 84-87. 
Ta-Lama, The, II. 56-62, 71-73, 84-87. 
Talai-Lama, The, II. 3, 8, 11, 37, 80, 147. 
Talkitchin, I. 71 ; salt at, 71. 
Tamarisks, I. 12, 38, 62, 68, 71, 108, 131. 
Tambourine accompaniment to prayers, I. 19; 

II. 132. 
Tandi, II. 101. 
Tarantshis, The, I. 7, 8 ; their abandonment 

of wives, 9 ; at Kourla, 42. 
Tarim River, The, I. 62, 63, 65; overflow of, 

65 ; action of the wind upon the sands of, 

67 ; tchiga plants in the valley of, 68 ; 
salt on the banks of, 69 ; breadth of, 79, 
90 ; and the " Lake " of Lob Nor, 90, 
109 ; the travellers' descent of, 92 ; ice in, 

Taro, II. 172. 

Tartars, The, and their horses, I. 61. 

Tash-Daw T an Mountain, I. 134, 140 ; crossing 

the, 141 ; 217. 
Tashé-Boua, II. 74. 
Tashiline, II. 135. 
Tashkend, I. 7. 
Tatchou River, II. 143. 
Tatsien-Lou, II. 74, 133, 134, 167, 196, 204; 

treatment of the travellers at, 209 ; 210. 
Taxes levied by Chinese, I. 67, 89, 164. 
Tchaï, I. 107. 
Tchamdo, see Tsiamdo. 
Tehang (fermented barley), II. 199. 
Tcharkal, see Tcharkalik. 
Tcharkalik, I. 74, 99, 111; "French party" 

created at, 115. 
Tchershène Darya River, I. 72. 
Tcherchène, I. 164. 
Tchiga plants, I. 68 ; woven into garments, 

68 ; 71. 

Tchigali, Tchiga plants at, I. 68. 

Tchimbo-Nara, II. 136. 

Tchimbo-Tinzi, II. 136. 

Tchimène Tagh, The, I. 113, 149. 

Tchimcne, Flateau of, I. 150. 

Tchinagi, I. 57 ; origin of inhabitants, and 

their customs, 58, 59. 
Tchoukour Saï, I. 133. 
Tchoungo, II. 143. 
Tchounneu, II. 173. 
Tchoupalongue. II. 201. 
Tchouzma, A dish of, I. 197. 
Tea, the favourite drink of the Mongols and 

the Thibetans, I. 16 ; trade between China 

and Thibet in, II. 188. 
Tengri Nor (the Namtso), II. 32. 
Tent of the Amban of Lhassa, II. 50. 
Tents of Thibetans, II. 23, 113, 172. 

Terai, Tint of sky at, I. 76. 

Terek- Dawan, The, I. 41. 

Thibet Higher table-lands of, I. 2 ; difficul- 
ties of travelling in, 7 ; tea-drinking in, 
16 ; intermixture of the people with the 
Lobis, 133; pasture-ground of, 217; the 
first native encountered by the travellers, 
II. 2; ruins of dwellings in, 131 ; electric 
phenomenon from woollen garments in, 
114 ; general appearance of the mountains, 
144 ; fine scenery near Djala Mountains, 
147; iron manufactory at Lagoun, 150; 
no trustworthy history, 165 ; tea trade 
with China, 188 ; weakness of Chinese 
authority in, 191. 

Thibetans : the fh - st native met by the travel- 
lers, II. 2 ; their snuff-taking, 2 ; native 
deception, 3 ; a shepherd and a shepherdess, 
4, 5 ; their greediness, 5 ; their ponies, 
5; their wonder at English revolvers, 
6; their pigtails, 8; large tongues, 11, 
12; meat-vendors, 17; tents, 23; mills 
and saddles, 23 ; of Lhassa, 37-40 ; load- 
ing yaks, 64 ; cooking, 76 ; their charac- 
teristics near Lhassa, 78, 79 ; armed 
horsemen, 80 ; yak-drivers, 83, 98 ; ex- 
change of presents with the chiefs from 
Lhassa, 84, 86; shepherds, 94, 114; their 
dogs, 96; variety of types, 96, 97, 99, 115, 
163; signs with the thumbs, 98, 111, 118, 
150 ; modes of salutation, 2, 8, 18, 48, 98 ; 
forms of religion, 99 ; their skill with the 
sling, 102; houses and people of So, 105- 
112; coins, 108; huts, 114; tobacco- 
smoking, 114; extortions of chiefs, 116; 
goitres, 116; fine specimen of a chief, 122; 
flat houses, 121 ; polyandry and poly- 
gamy, 124-127; tasks laid upon women, 
127; a drunken chief, 136; a domestic 
scene, 139 ; vacillation, 140; superstition, 
140 ; agricultural implements, 143 ; care 
for cattle, 143 ; veneration for the pagoda 
at Djala Pass, 147 ; their kindness of 
heart contrasted with the unfeeling nature 
of the Chinese, 164, 165 ; their insolence 
at Lendjoune, 166 ; a fight about a yak- 
skin, 170; superstitions, 183, 191. 

Thomine, Father, II. 195. 

Thrushes, I. 35. 

Thumb. Signing a treaty with the, I. 124. 

Thumbs, Signs with the. II. 98. Ill, 118, 150. 

Tien Shan, The, I. 7, 10, 19 ; Buddhist in- 
scriptions on the slopes of, 31. 

Tientsin Treaty, The, II. 203. 

Tigers, I. 67, 82. 

Timour, shepherd and servant to the travel- 
lers, I. 113, 123, 149, 156; searches for 
lost horses, 181 ; at the burial of Niaz, 193 ; 
II. 90. 

Timurlik, I. 19, 152. 

Tiskène, Plains of, I. 174. 

Tiumen, I. 3, 121. 

Tjéma-Loung, II. 102. 

Tobolsk, I. 58. 



Tokta, a village singer, I. 118, 119; playing 

the allah-rabob, 132, 145; 170. 
Tomtits, I. 35. 
Tonquin, Route from Paris to, I. 2 ; 7, 1 1 1 ; 

reception of the travellers at, II. 219. 
Tools used in an iron manufactory, II. 151. 
Torgots, The, I. 27, 30, 32 ; their descent, 

35 ; 36 ; photographed by Prince Henry, 

38; 39, 151. 
Toiu/rak, Woods of, I. 62 ; sap of, used as 

soap, 67. 
Tonia Kuiruk, I. 38. 

Tsaidam, The, I. 6, 111, 116, 155; II. 77. 
Transmigration f the soul, I. 14, 30 ; II, 99. 
Tsakma, Valley of the, I. 19, 23. 
Tsatang, II. 95. 

Tsiamdo, II. 105, 118, 149, 167, 195. 
Tsong Kaba, I. 31 ; II. 80. 
Tsong li Yamen, The, at Pekin, I. 6. 
Tsonké, II. 173. 
Tson-ron River, II. 173. 
Tumblers, Thibetan, II. 135. 
Turfau, I. 89. 
Turkestan, Chinese, I. 2. 
Turkestan, Russian, I. 4, 52. 
Turks, Fine specimens of, I. 3. 
Turnip, or nioitma, II. 115, 143. 

Ugliness of Thibetans, II. 2, 6. 

Ulcers, I. 100. 

Urumtsi, Highway of, I. 120. 

Unicorn, Reputed existence of the, II. 68. 

Ural Mountains, I. 3. 

Uzbegs, The, I. 3, 40. 

Valley of bones, A, I. 206. 

Valleys of China, I. 2. 

Vase made from a yak's skull, II. 23. 

Violets, II. 155. 

Volcanoes, The Reclus, I. 187, 188; the Ruys- 

bruk, or Rubruquis, 194, 198; cones of 

several, 198. 
Volga, The, I. 3, 35. 
Vultures, II. 35. 

Wagner, M., French Consul at Shanghai, II. 

Wagtails, I. 35. 

Water-carriers, II. 77, 78. 

Water-mill, A Thibetan, II. 191. 

Water-fowl, I. 68, 83, 88. 

"Waves of mountains," I. 204. 

Wells from the Aryk, I. 118. 

Wheat at Aktarma, I. 65. 

Wild Camels, I. 82, 87. 

Wilderness of mountains, A, I. 198-218. 

Willows, I. 12, 20, 38; II. 155. 

Windmills, Praying, II. 143. 

Wives, Abandonment of, by Mussulmans, I. 9. 

Wolves, I. 25, 67, 135, 188, 199, 210 ; II. 31, 

93, 101, 163. 
Women ; their ugliness amongst the Mongols, 

I. 19 ; II. 24, 28 ; at Kourla, I. 52 ; of 
Abdallah, 84, 105 ; amongst shepherd 
tribes, II. 94 ; smearing their faces 
with butter, 96, 117 ; assisting in 
building, 112; filthiness of, 117; orna- 
ments of, 124, 139 ; as beggars, 126 ; 
laborious life of, 127, 133; as field 
labourers, 141, 164; as yak-drivers, 160; 
near Taro, 173; dancina' near Batang, 

Yakoob-Beg, the "blessed one," 1. 40,; poisoned 
at Kourla, 41; 57, 58, 61; fortress con- 
structed by, 72. 

Yaks, I. 149, 166, 175, 194; enormous speci- 
mens of, 200; 205 ; an ancient specimen, 
206; 212, 215; II. 8, 47, 94; breaking 
through the ice, 95; 101; falling over a 
precipice, 103; in inaccessible places, 116. 

Yandachkak, I. 131. 

Yang-tse-Kiang, Probable sources of, I. 208 ; 

II. 194, 195. 

Y'angi Koul, I. 65 ; characteristics of the in- 
habitants of, 66. 

Yantag, I. 36, 38. 

" Y r ourt," Remains of a Thibetan, I. 210. 

Youtchap Khan, Characteristics of the inhabit- 
ants of, 1.91. 

Yulduz, The, I. 20, 28, 30. 

Yunnan, II. 123, 196, 212. 

Zakiste-gol, The, I. 30. 
Zamba, II. 26,41. 
Zetchou River, II. 152. 

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Luke Barnieott. 

The Last War Trail. 
Ned on the River. A Tale 

of Indian River Warfare. 
Footprints in the Forest. 
Up the Tapajos. 

Ned in the Block House. 

A Story of Pioneer Life in 

The Lost Trail. 
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Lost in the Wilds. 

By well-known Writers. All Illustrated. 

I Little Bird. I My First Cruise. 

Th^EUihe^er CoUege The Little Peacemaker. 

Boys. I The Delft Jug. 

Cassell's Picture Story Books. Each containing 60 pages. 6d. each, 

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Dumb Friends. Our Prettjr Pets^ 
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Our Schoolday Hours. 
Creatures Tame. 

Containing interesting Stories. All 

Creatures Wild. 
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Claimed at Last, and Boy's 

Thorns and Tangles. 

The Cuckoo in the Bobin's 
John's Mistake. [Nest. 

Diamonds in the Sand. 
Surly Bob. 
The Bastory of Five Little 

The Giant's Cradle. 
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Clever Frank. 
Among the Redskins. 
The Ferryman of Brill. 
Harry Maxwell. 
A Banished Monarch 

«Little Folks" Painting Books. 

Water-Colour Painting, is. each. 
Fruits and Blossoms for " Little Folks " 
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The " Little Folks 

With Text, and Outline Illustrations for 
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I The "Little Folks" 
Book. Cloth only, as. 
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Eighteenpenny Story Books. 

Baggies, Baggies, and the 

Boses from Thorns. 
Faith's Father. 

Wee Willie Winkie. 
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Up the Ladder. 
Dick's Hero ; & other Stories. 
The Chip Boy. 

All Illustrated throughout. 

Tom Morris's Error. 
Worth more than Gold. 

By Land and Sea. 

The Young Berringtons. 

Jeff and Leff. 

' Through Flood— Through 

The Girl with the Golden 

Stories of the Olden Time. 

Selections front Cassell & Company's Publications . 

The " World in Pictures " Series. Illustrated throughout 2s. 6d. each, 

A Ramble Round France. 

AU the Russias. 

Chats about Germany. 

The Land of the Pyramids (Egypt). 

Peeps into China. 

The Eastern 'Wonderland (Japan). 
Glimpses of South America- 
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The Land of Temples (India). 
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Cheap Editions of Popular Volumes for Young People. Illustrated. 2s. 6d. 

Esther WeBt. | Three Homes. I For Queen and King. | Working to Win. 
Perils Afloat and Brigands Ashore. 

Two-Shilling Story Books. All Illustrated. 

Stories of the Tower. 
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May Cunningham's TriaL 
The Top of the Ladder: 

How to Reach it. 
Little FlotBam. 
Madge and her Friends. 

Half-Crown Story Books. 

The Children of the Court. 
A Moonbeam Tangle. 
Maid Marjory. 
The Four Cats of the Tip- 

Marion's Two Homes. 
Little Folks' Sunday Book. 
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Two Fourpenny Bits. 

Poor Nelly. 

Tom Heriot. 

Aunt Tabitha's Waifs. 

In Mischief Again. 

Through Peril to Fortune. 

^eggy, and other Tales. 

Little Hinges. 

Margaret's Enemy. 

Pen's Perplexities. 

Notable Shipwrecks. 

Golden Days. 

Wonders of Common Things. 

At the South Pole. 


Truth will Out. 

Pictures of School Life and Boyhood, 

The Young Man in the Battle of Life 

the Rev. Dr. Landels. 
The True Glory of Woman. By the Rev. 

Dr. Landels. 
Soldier and Patriot (George Washington). 

Three-and-Sixpenny Library, illustrated. Cloth gilt, gilt edges. 

I Peggy Oglivie's Inheritance. 

I Krilof and his Fables. 

Fairy Tales. By Prof. Henry Morley. 

Cassell's Pictorial Scrap Book. 

cloth back, 3s. 6d. per Vol. 
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! Wonderful Balloon Ascents. 

! Wonders of Bodily Strength and Skill. 

Wonderful Escapes. 

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Rhymes for the Young Folk. By William 
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The Sunday Scrap Book. With One Thou- 
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Cassell's Robinson Crusoe. With 100 
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The Old Fairy Tales. With Original Illus- 
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My Diary. With Twelve Coloured Plates and 
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The Pilgrim's Progress. With Coloured 
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Cassell's Swiss Family Robinson. Illus- 
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The World's Workers. A Series of 

Authors. With Portraits printed on a 
Dr. Arnold of Rugby. By Rose E. Selfe. 
The Earl of Shaftesbury. 
Sarah Robinson, Agnes Weston, and Mrs. 

Thomas A. Edison and Samuel F. B. 

Mrs. Somerville and Mary Carpenter. 
General Gordon. 
Charles Dickens. 

Sir-Titus Salt and George Moore. 
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Lord Clyde. 
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David Livingstone. 
George Muller and Andrew Reed. 
Richard Cobden. 
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Turner the Artist. 
George and Robert Stephenson. 

1 The above Works (excluding Richard Cobden) can also be had IhrceinOne Vol., cloth, gtU edçes.v. 

CASSELL <L- COMPANY, Limited, Ludgate Hill, London; 
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